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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Mirren as you've never b4 seen her, 23 April 2002

Helen Mirren, a great actress of our times. She defies Hollywood convention to appear sans makeup, allowing her character to age from the natural beauty of her late teens to an aging woman in her late 60s.

Mirren plays Amy, the wife of Jack (Michael Cain), a butcher for 50 years. She endures the first birth of a retarded daughter to whom she alone remains devoted while her husband ignores the girl & pays attention to his adopted son Vince (excellent portrayal by Ray Winstone of Sexy Beast fame). Vince refuses to follow his father into the butcher business ("it's all about waste") and instead follows his own passion for cars, opening a successful car dealership.

The movie is full of marvelous male dialogue (listen hard, these are British accents after all) between Jack's pals heard while they ride around the bluesy and blowsy British coast in Vince's Mercedes,stopping in pubs while headed to spread Jack's ashes to a seaside resort: his "Last Orders", and a place where he honeymooned with his wife and was happy so many years ago.

These men's lives are are told to us through flashbacks of wartime friendships and present-day tales: stories of what they have been through in a lifetime of marraiges, divorces, dissapointment, fights and ultimately love.

Excellent performances from the all-Brit ensemble cast. Bob Hoskins shines in a way we haven't seen him for a long time as the best friend who saved Jack's life in the war and who has also loved Amy all these years.

9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
A feast for Visual Lovers, 5 December 2000

Big screen is the only place to see this masterpiece. As the last of the films viewed @ the Detroit Institute of Arts Detroit Film Theatre's Monday Night Series, Horse Thief was fitting to be viewed last: truly the best was saved till last.

A Detroit Free Press reviewer gave the film only 2 stars because of a "sorely needed script". The beauty of this film is exactly that lack of dialogue which leaves room to enjoy the visual feast that the director intended.

I am grateful that the film was allowed out of China at all and privileged to view the beauty of Tibetan culture and Buddhist monk rituals, the inside of a Tibetan temple with rows and rows of flickering candles, the tortured beauty of the mountainous region in summer, spring and winter and the painful, poignant and ultimately tragic tale of a man, his wife and children and their lives in a region of the world that some Americans might only see in the pages of National Geographic.