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
The premise of this film that the main character (played by Cate Blanchett) is a rancher and doctor living in the wilds of New Mexico. Her daughter is kidnapped by a group of outlaws led by a psychopathic witch doctor. At the same time, her estanged father (played by Tommy Lee Jones) enters her life, and she is faced with her deep hatred of him, weighed against her need for his help. The rest of the story I won't give away.
I've read whisperings of Oscar nominations, which may be a fair statement, but although these rumors have been directed towards Blanchett, I would say that Jones had the stronger performance. Blanchett was excellent as well though, depicting a hard-laboring no-nonsense rancher perfectly, not trying to inject any glamour into her role whatsoever, as might have been the case if certain other big name actresses had played the role. I am forever amazed by Blanchett's versatility! The girls playing the daughters were excellent
too, specially the youngest one, who had a number of intense emotional scenes.
I liked the bleak feeling presented in the film...the raw climate, the hopelessness combined with determination that the characters portrayed. The heroic rescue attempts were not without their screw-ups, making the story much more realistic than a typical Western shoot-em-up hero movie.
I also enjoyed the element of mysticism, which was pulled off without being too corny. The main villain in this film was quite possibly the creepiest, ugliest villain to grace the screen in years! Yet somehow it wasn't too trite either.
My personal beef with most Hollywood epics is that friggin' annoying sweeping soundtrack music, which practically spells out to you how you are supposed to feel, replacing the emotion that should have been created by the acting and directing. Thankfully, the soundtrack didn't overwhem this film. Just some well placed ambient music which supplemented the scenes nicely.
Definitely one of the better films I've seen lately. I rate it 8/10.
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