In 19th-century New Mexico, a father (Tommy Lee Jones) comes back home, hoping to reconcile with his adult daughter Maggie (Cate Blanchett). Maggie's daughter is kidnapped, forcing father and estranged daughter to work together to get her back. Written by
Yet another movie in which I wanted to, while watching, reach into the TV and slap Evan Rachel Wood for being such a whiner. Either she's REALLY perfected this role (Thirteen being a notable example) or.....well, anyway. I felt this was a good followup to the overrated "A Beautiful Mind" and a satisfying blend of western and downright scares. Cate Blanchett gave her usual excellent performance as a single mother and hardy frontierswoman, and carried the movie along quite well at times when it was slow. Tommy Lee Jones, in a role that seems well made for him, played the laconic, repentant, and often bad-ass faux-Apache with the same charisma he brought to "The Fugitive" and "Men In Black" (not the second one, which sucked. Majorly.), and acquitted himself well to a role that wasn't very likeable to begin with. A surprising supporting cast, including Aaron Eckhart, Jenna Boyd, Jay Tavare, and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Val Kilmer, fleshed out the less-than-complex storyline, and Eric Schweig was a very creepy villain. The movie made great use of the New Mexican scenery and used the bleak and forbidding atmosphere to really heighten the tension. Some great camera work (particularly during the first horse chase and showing the fates of those exposed to the Brujo's mystical dust stuff) and art direction push this movie above average westerns. My only complaint was the score, which was like some kind of amalgam of the scores of "Braveheart" and "Willow", both of which James Horner wrote and one of which Ron Howard directed. But you probably knew that.
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