Cormac McCarthy's novel, All The Pretty Horses, the first part of his breath-taking Border Trilogy, is one of the most perfect source materials ever written. Add to this the impressive line-up of talent (Ted Tally adapting, Thornton directing, Matt Damon, back when he was a hot property the first time around, starring) assembled for the film version and it's fair to say my expectations were raised sky high. When the film came out it was buried by the distributor. I managed to catch it in the one week it played at a single cinema in Edinburgh and I would be lying if I didn't admit that the whole experience was a crushing disappointment. It wasn't that the film makers had ballsed the whole thing up, no it was much more frustrating than that. You could tell that somewhere in that film there was a masterpiece straining to get out. Individual sequences impressed but the whole thing moved at such a frenzied pace that the main characters' journey, a true rite of passage in the novel, had become damagingly truncated. The result was underwhelming but at the same time as been annoyed at the film I could tell it wasn't the film makers' fault. It was all too apparent that this was a great film that had had it's guts, it's heart, it's very essence, chopped out of it by a greedy distributor trying to market the film as some kind of Titanic / Young Guns cross over. Guess what, this movie was never going to appeal to the teeny boppers. If only the studio could have realized that and been true to the property they acquired in the first place. My suspicions were confirmed recently when I read an article wherein Matt Damon, a fine actor despite the criticism, claimed that Billy Bob Thornton's integral cut of the movie is the best he's ever been involved in. I don't know about you but that makes me want to see it. Apparently the studio are willing to release this extended cut on DVD (all revenue streams reach the ocean eventually) but Thornton won't settle for anything less than a full cinematic re-release. I can't say I blame him, I get the impression his film deserves at least that much. So for now I can't recommend this film, check out the novel instead and then the rest of Cormac McCarthy's back catalogue. But let's hope that in the not too distant future this film finally gets the treatment I suspect it deserves.