Two young Texas cowboys on the cusp of manhood ride into 1940's Mexico in search of experience. What they find is a country as chaotic as it is beautiful, as cruel and unfeeling as it is mysterious, where death is a constant, capricious companion.Written by
Richard Foxx <email@example.com>
After Billy Bob Thornton completed his cut (said to be somewhere between three and four hours), Harvey Weinstein forced him to cut more than another hour from it. Peter Biskind suggests in his book Down and Dirty Pictures (2004) that this was at least partially done as payback for Thornton's refusal to cut Sling Blade (1996). See more »
The Beech 18 airplane that Don Hector flies from his ranch to Mexico City every week has a US registration number beginning with "N." Aircraft registered in Mexico have registration numbers beginning with "XA," "XB" or "XC." The filmmaker seems to have been aware of this, since most shots of the airplane have the "N" on the fuselage partially blocked by a car or person. See more »
In the opening credits, the Columbia Pictures emblem is not the 2000 one. Instead, it is the circa 1949 version with the woman holding the torch. This is what would have been used at the time the story is set. See more »
The first cut by director Billy Bob Thornton was ca. 4 hours long. It was later cut down to the 116 min. version released to theatres. See more »
This is a hard film to pin down...given the spoon-fed plots we've all been conditioned to follow. It's sold as a love story, but that's one small bend in the film's long, dusty road. If I had to classify it in conventional terms, I'd put it somewhere between "coming of age" and an "american odyssey." It's spread out and slowly told--that's the nature of the subject. But to hell with all that.
I love this film. It's haunting. It's like putting on your favorite old pair of dusty old boots with their third soles and fifth heels, and kicking your feet up onto a hitching rail while you're waiting for the day to cool off. This is the story of John Grady Cole's serious loss of innocence. He is a stoic, simple, gentle, moral, responsible, sensible, well-mannered young Texan dropped into some extreme circumstances where his character is tested and proven. The crafting of the film appears to be a direct extension of his character. From Barry Markowitz' big-sky, muted-color, wide-open, slowly-moving cinematography, Clark Hunter's simple yet brilliant production design, to Sally Menke's minimalist editing, all elements of this film combine to reflect the purity, simplicity and grace of it's protagonist. The create a purely american western MOOD, and I love the way this film feels when I watch it.
I love Matt Damon's Texas drawl. Hell, I love EVERYONE'S Texas drawl in this film. I love the unspoken, little-expressed love between his character and Henry Thomas' character, Lacy Rawlins. I love Lucas Black's rough-edged teenager in big trouble, and how he desperately reverts to his recently-lost childhood when he's being dragged off to certain death. I love how Billy Bob Thornton takes his time telling this tale...that's the way his main characters approach everything...patiently. I love seeing two friends riding together toward who-knows-what in the middle of a vast wilderness. I love how even when John Grady Cole is enraged, he's still polite and rational. I just love the RICHNESS of this film--you can TASTE the cider when these guys pull over to buy a drink. You can TASTE the beans they eat in prison. You can SMELL the dust and the sage everywhere. You can FEEL how sore they are after 4 days of breaking horses. I even love the way "John Grady Cole" sounds when they say it.
I'm trying to put my finger on it, but I can't...this film's like a glass of wonderful wine you weren't expecting.
But I saved the best for last: the most magnificent thing about "All the Pretty Horses," the force that binds all the rich, disparate pleasures of watching this film together, and expresses the subdued, pure emotions of it's protagonist, is Marty Stuart's exquisite score. It's warm like old wood and worn leather...it's part mariachi, part spanish, part classic western film score, part bluegrass, but it is PERFECT FOR THIS FILM. It's constructed entirely around a simple, graceful phrase on a spanish guitar (obviously a representation of the contents of John Grady Cole's pure Texas heart) I'm not even going to try to express any more about how great I think it is...I'll just get more frustrated than I already am. Needless to say, I listen to it again and again and again.
I just happen to love this movie. I'm more surprised than anyone else. I guess you could say, "I'm plum stuck on it--and I don't give too hoots in a holler what the rest of y'all might think about it neither."
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