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An outlaw band flees a posse and rides into Refuge, a small town where no one carries a gun, drinks, or swears. The town is actually Purgatory, and the peaceful inhabitants are all famous dead outlaws and criminals such as Doc Holiday and Wild Bill Hickok who must redeem themselves before gaining admittance to Heaven...or screw up and go to Hell. The residents must either defend themselves against the outlaws and risk eternal damnation... or die a second time. Written by
After committing a bank robbery, a large group of outlaws led by Blackjack Britton are on the run. So Britton leads his men across the desert, which they come across a quiet little town called Purgatory, where the strange locals don't carry guns, or even curse, but they really make them welcome. This very helpful gesture spurs Britton to stir up a racket and take over the town, but one of his men, a young wannabe, Sonny, doesn't share Britton's idea and he finds himself picking up some unusual hints of something otherworldly about the town and its inhabitants.
What a nice surprise the cable TV movie, "Purgatory", actually turned out to be. It's far from your conventional western. Well, there's some formulaic western stakes within it, but it does have a weird novelty behind it that wouldn't feel out-of-place in a "Twilight Zone" episode. This unique sprinkle and along with a appealing cast made it a very engrossing and delightful viewing, despite that it's pretty much a sleeper when building up the story and the mysterious twist engulfing the presentation forces itself on us too suddenly and rather obviously. I could go on about the whole twist and the story has a few layers to peel off, but its better to just know that it involves a group of outlaws who have made names for themselves. Like Bill Hicock, Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Doc Holliday. Now that's a great line-up! The story kind a follows a redemption angle, where it's all about choice and a chance to make good, but despite this option there are temptations you must face, before accepting your fate. Gladly none of it becomes too overwrought. There are some creative juices flowing here amongst a very solid looking production. The film opens and closes with thrilling and well-staged gunfights. Dynamic wise, the fruitful cast gel impeccably well, involving the likes of Eric Roberts killing it, as Blackjack Britton and then you got Brad Rowe as the naïve Sonny. Peter Stonmore gives a stand-out performance as the crackpot sidekick of Britton, Cavin. Some of the town's folk you see kicking back are played by Randy Quaid, Sam Elliott, Donnie Wahlberg, J.D. Souther and the stunning Amelia Heinle. What got me more than anything, was the production was very well mounted with smoothly displayed photography that captured the vastness and close details that sprawled along the screen and a sulky, fine-tuned score that created an eerie howl, really does lift it out of the very stuffy mould of TV features.
A very curious piece that just doesn't go anywhere big with its fascinating concept, but still it's surely entertaining.
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