Appaloosa - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Appaloosa Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 29, 2009
Nice try but ultimately flawed and unsatisfying.
Super Reviewer
September 22, 2008
A friendly little Western film with two great leading men that doesn't seem to dare to scare its audience all that much. There is relatively little tension, a bit of banter and a somewhat anticlimatic ending. At least the road there is somewhat unpredictable and refuses to follow the well known paths of the genre all that closely. Entertaining and satisfying enough. Zellweger is a classic mis-cast, though.
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2008
A great, sensational and old-fashioned entertainment crafted by a superb performer and fine filmmaker. A masterpiece. A skillfully and brilliantly made western laced with wit and adventure. It's packed with explosive action and dazzling suspense. A thunderous and breathtaking classic that will astound you. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen are magnificent. Harris is magnetic, giving one of his best performances and an excellent approach as the director. Mortenson is outstanding, giving another compelling and fantastic performance. Renee Zellweger is extraordinary, you truly believe this actress can truly play anybody. Jeremy Irons is riveting, giving a knockout performance. A powerful and unforgettable film. An exhilarating film that will move you with it's power, characters and story. A great amount of action, thrills, fast-humor, romance and drama. It's pure excellence with great character development.
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2010
We've seen it all before: a small town terrorized by a vile gang of outlaws; having their own way as if nothing could ever break their stride. That is, until a new sheriff and his entourage shows up to challenge their sway - fearless in their attempt to establish some law and order.

In that regard, this isn't exactly what you'd call a groundbreaking picture. Thankfully, however, this routine formula is but employed in the beginning of the film. What follows is something of less predictable nature; taking us on a voyage more variable and unforeseen.

An appealing gunslinger tale, blessed by the presence of formidable actors like Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen and Jeremy Irons. All of them bringing a quality to the screen that more than compensates for the hackneyed first chapter.

Additionally, it deserves to be said that I was entertained throughout. Not spectacular in any way, but solid without question and well worth the view.
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2008
A stunning cast can't really help this film, it looks good...damn good but the film is so poor really.

The acting is very average, from such a top class cast I expected a much more epic feel, instead it feels almost like a TV special. Irons being the worst with a very panto acting turn, Viggo is so thin in the face he looks ill and isn't much better than his 'Young Guns 2' role way back and Zellweger looks rather fat in the face and pretty ugly dare I say. How she gets roles I dont know cos her acting is really basic, this could of been so much more.

The plot is also very patchy, holes here and there make it a touch tricky to follow later on in the film and it does tend to drag and get less interesting. Not much happens really, it builds up to an anti climax that leaves you yearning for a good shoot out.

Harris needed help with this and alittle said its very 'TV-movie-ish'.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2009
For me, Appaloosa was a let-down. I like the classic Westerns, where the silences speak as loudly as the dialogue, but to pull that off there has to be some evident tension. And though I get the sense that the novel from which this film was adapted succeeded, the movie version simply didn't. All I really saw were long stretches where nothing happened. Decent opening, decent ending, but otherwise, it's a pretty boring mish-mash of a clichéd love triangle and a clichéd chase movie - and on the latter front, No Country for Old Men it ain't.
Super Reviewer
November 4, 2010
After this film, I can't say anything good about Ed Harris as a director. I remember Pollock being really good, but Appaloosa is a total directing abortion. All of the shots are static, wide-angles, and the camera would never be cited for a moving violation. Even the action sequences, which often define the modern western, are obscure. Additionally, although he is a great actor and his work in Reversal of Fortune almost changed the way I hold my cigarette, Jeremy Irons is horribly miscast. Throughout most of the film, he seems to do a bad Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood imitation. Finally, in order to restore justice, Cole demands carte blanche, which sends the type of political message that Bush and company are only too happy to receive. The only positive point I can see is how it mildly - and I mean oh, so mildly - defies Western genre conventions by casting doubt on the probable success of the French/Cole relationship. But even this is left unexplored.
Looking at this film from every possible way, I can't imagine liking it.
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2009
Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen play a pair of lawmen for hire who are engaged to clean up the frontier town of Appaloosa which is being terrorized by a gang headed up by big city dandy Jeremy Irons. Appaloosa is a western very much from the old school, far more character driven than most of the post Peckinpah/Leone generation and as such felt like a throwback to the days of Anthony Mann and his ilk. It concentrates far more on drama than gunplay which obviously requires quality performances, a task more than ably handled by an excellent ensemble cast. Harris and Mortensen in particular show great chemistry and every scene they share together is eminently watchable. This makes the gaping flaw in the film all the more obvious; namely Renee Zellwegger's painfully clumsy, pudding faced performance that serves no purpose other than to take screen time away from the interesting characters. It's a shame because every other aspect of the film is extremely well done and despite her best efforts to wreck it, I still thought that Appaloosa was one of the better westerns I've seen in recent years.
Super Reviewer
October 7, 2010
Brilliant location, superb believable acting, great soundtrack all adds up to an essential Cowboy movie to watch for all Cowboy fans and gunslingers !
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2010
this movie was really slow and i'm not really sure it was about anything. i love all the actors and the score. but you can't like a whole movie just because you like some songs and ed harris. there weren't nearly as many shoot outs and rides off in to the sunset as i thought there should be for a western.. and ed harris' character is way too badass to be putting up with so much slutty-duddy shit from his lady, renee zellweger's character.
Super Reviewer
½ May 17, 2010
"Never ain't here yet."

The Western movie genre is one of my favourite ones. 'Dances With Wolves', ' The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' and 'Unforgiven'... Just to name a few larger than life westerns.. So, I'm pretty eager to watch any westerns available. But I'm afraid that some of 'em ain't that good...

'Appaloosa' is actor Ed Harris' second film that he has directed. The first one was a portrait of an artist, Jackson Pollock, named 'Pollock'. If I remember correctly, the film was a strong directorial debut. 'Appaloosa' was at worst a total disaster.

The story is a basic "western" story with vigilantes and tough ass sheriff's. No surprises here. But what really surprised me was the terrible acting by the big named actors. Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons... And the highly overrrated Renee Zellweger. I have to say this and I'll probably win some hearts and loose a few.. While watching the movie I realized how much I actually hate Zellweger. Her looks, her voice.. That awful grin on her face. On the bonus side, all of these factors helped me hate the character as well. You'll understand me if you watch 'Appaloosa'.

The film looks good with a realistic tone to it all. The costumes look good but what's with the beard of Mortensen. Could it look any faker? Everytime Mortensen was on the screen, I had this urge to rip it off!

The acting is below any expectations. Awful is a kind word to explain it. The leads make probably their worst performances ever and the supprting cast ain't doing a good job either.

'Appaloosa' is full of terrible acting, awful characters and a terrible "love story" that is forced in to a mediocre story. But on the positive side, the gun slinging looks and sounds awesome and that's important in any westerns, right?
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2009
Well acted and directed. Viggo & Ed Harris were great together. The story was a little predictable and tended to drag, but not to the point of boring. I would definitely say it's one of the better westerns i've seen.
Super Reviewer
½ October 21, 2009
Taking a familiar genre and injecting more modern psychological aspects amongst the usual black and white idealisms, Appaloosa manages to keep it interesting in spite of a somewhat flabby middle section and some coincidences of convenience plot wise.

Amidst the dusty backdrop there is a very odd love triangle and an almost apologetic attitude towards Zelwegger's charactor, who, as Morgensen explains in a very well written scene is the mare who only wants the lead stud of the herd. Harris, who has fallen for her replies that the stud can change over time.

Speaking of time - there is a theme here, as Harris replies to Irons insistant "you'll never catch me" bromide with "never isn't over yet".

There are overtones of bonding, trust, and respect here that make the western such a beloved genre. There are hints of the Eastwood spaghetti westerns here, from the stark scenery (especially the "south of the border" town) to the no honor amongst thieves and rule by fear aspects.

While there is a sufficient amount of gun violence here, ironically the film manages to come off as more of a charactor study than a shoot em up, as the violence seems totally natural and properly motivated throughout.

The only real downsides to this film are in some of the plot conventions, the superflous courtroom scene (unnessary and does nothing to advance the plot), and the irritating bit where Harris keeps stumbling over the words he wants to use, asking Mortensen "what am I trying to say?". Bogus and off putting, as was the innitial smitten portrayal by Harris when he meets Zelwegger.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2008
Appaloosa was full of great direction and beautiful cinematography. The acting was pretty decent as well, most notably the chemistry between Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. The story on the other hand was probably more complex than it could ever need to be (namely the last 20 minutes which kind took away from the movie for me) and ultimately the movie made me wonder why I should give a shit in the end. Appaloosa was a decent try at the classic school of westerns but if fell just short. Renee Zellweger's character probably could've been cut out altogether and God knows looking at her enlarged bee sting of a face didn't make this move any easier to get through. Disappointing but it could've been worse...
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2009
My only complaint about this movie was it was a tad bit slow paced - which traditionally in westerns I dont mind but even at it's high points it was a bit medicore.

The actors are not the greatest, but there good enough. The gun scenes are some of the most realistic I've seen. The soundtrack is solid but not up to parr with 310 to Yuma or Assassination of Jesse James. The plot itself is a good one but a little to simple for me - it's a great flick and nice too see a modern day western but it also does not seem too deserve a spot on the shelf with the legendary western's out there today.

It's worth a watch - I bought it too. If your a fan of westerns in general buy it. If you are just looking for a good flick , rent it, and return it.
Super Reviewer
½ August 30, 2009
It started off as a movie I wanted to see. A small town is having troubles with a low down creep and they call upon two law men to take care of the situation. We've seen this played out before. The only problem here is that we go away from that story to deal with one of them falling for a woman who will sleep with anyone to get ahead in life. But we don't care. There is nothing happening for us to care about. We spend so much time on that we forget about the main story and it's wrapped up so fast and in a manner that is so unsatisfying that I left the theater wanting to go watch Silverado instead.
Super Reviewer
½ August 30, 2009
Appaloosa is a very good western starring a very good cast: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger & Jeremy Irons. In the 19th century old west two men are hired in a town that is out of control with dangerous bandits. They aer given all rights as sherif and deputy and have all the stress and pressure that comes along with the job. A very good film worth seeing.
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2009
Why is everyone giving this movie a pass? This movie sucks. And I love Ed Harris, but he is terrible in this movie. The movie is gorgeous to look at and Viggo Mortenson is great in everything he does these days, but everything else about this western is amateur hour. I cannot believe that he cast Renee Zellwegger in this movie. Her whole arc is useless. And Jeremy Irons is doing the worst Daniel Plainview impersonation I have ever seen. I don't know, I was falling asleep by the end of it and I just wasn't invested in any of the characters outside of Viggo. They should have made this whole move about him. The only reason I gave this another star was for the credits which features "Scare Easy" by the one and only Mudcrutch (also known as Tom Petty's first band that recently got back together). It's literally the most entertaining stretch of the film.
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2008
In this western classic, Kevin Costner did it with his masterful (and sadly unheralded) 2003 adventure Open Range, and now Ed Harris joins him with a film adapted on Robert B. Parker's novel.
You can see the draw, with actors and directors basking in the dress-up thrills of Hollywood tradition while Harris, in particular, must have savoured the ironic resonance of peacekeepers upholding the law with a rifle. "Killing is sometimes a by-product," growls Harris's Virgil Cole, the uncompromising sheriff-for-hire and Wyatt Earp-alike freshly arrived with his dutiful sidekick Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen), a vision of Doc Holliday.
This is a fine portrait of friendship between men. That said, the decidedly quirk Cole and Hitch (who indulge in much amusing wordplay throughout the film), are far more interesting and engaging than most, and they make Appaloosa something truly special.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2008
A very well assembled cast in a high quality produced western, which stars and is directed by Ed Harris. The only real problem I kept waiting for all hell to break loose and the pace to be upped a few gears and unfortunately it never really happens. If you don't mind a slower paced western you will enjoy it, if you are after more action I recommend the remake of 3:10 to Yuma.
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