All the Pretty Horses Reviews
(2000) All The Pretty Horses
Co-written and directed by Billy Bob Thorton adapting the best selling novel by Cormac McCarthy who was also credited for providing the screenplay. Takes place right after WWII, with best friends, John Grady(Matt Damon) and Rawlins(Henry Thomas) craving for the old western life. But when mom agrees to sell the huge ranch property to the oil companies, so that she can retire to sunny side California, the two then decide to head across the border to Mexico so that they can continue their rustling life. And they end up taking in an underage 16 year old runaway, named Blevins(Lucas Black) unaware what is waiting for them. Although, the movie has an ending, the entire journey seems so artificial.
2 out of 4 stars
The first thing that did bother me, however was the fact that a All The Pretty Horses cuts off a significant amount of the importance from the first scenes in the novel and paces it exasperatingly fast for a western film or particularly one based on such a slow novel. It gives no depth or explanation into why the characters are traveling, rather giving a rushed summary of some of the most important events in the story. It eventually deteriorates into being a dramatically uninvolving story which makes it a boring one with little entertainment value or understanding of what importance it's source novel had as it follows a completely different film style which includes changes such as translating the Spanish language from the original novel which takes away its bleak ambiguity which made it important or relevant whatsoever. Frankly, Billy Bob Thorton takes the opportunity to adapt a classic of western literature and dumbs it down to Kim Kardashian standards. His direction was effortless and terrible on All The Pretty Horses, and he deserves a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for his errors as director of Cormac McCarthy's western piece.
Eventually, All The Pretty Horses deteriorates into being an unintentional comedy because the general quality of it is so low and so poor that watching the blank expressions on Matt Damon's face became humourous to me. I mean, I didn't really enjoy the novel but the film is one of the most scandalous western wastes I've ever seen, and remember I've seen Heaven's Gate. All The Pretty Horses should have its entire title dubbed to something else so audiences don't think it's pretty or in anyway related to Cormac McCarthy's novel. Truly, Billy Bob Thorton gives some of his worst direction here, because he decides to strip the subplots off down to the bare story as then only bother to capture less than a third of it in an inaccurate and poor manner, dragging down the talents of the cast with him by wasting their skills on a mediocre script and having them use sub-par acting.
When I say sub par, I mean that Matt Damon underacts, and Penelope Cruz overacts so poorly that they have the chemistry of William Shatner and Kristen Stewart. And in case that reference isn't clear, that would be bad chemistry. And this IS bad chemistry. And eventually, I forgot the character Blevins ever existed because Henry Thomas seems to have just petered out along the way.
This film just sucked, as did its editing, shaky cinematography and rough visual quality.
The only thing keeping me from calling it one of the worst movies of all time was that I found myself generally impressed with Lucas Black's performance as Jimmy Blevins was great. He put understanding into the character and conveyed who he was: a confident and strong man in a chulds body, and I believed him. I actually learned more about Jimmy Blevins thanks to Lucas Black's performance, so things completely bad even though he gets stuck with a flimsy script.
Also, the music was ok.
But overall, there is nothing Pretty about All The Pretty Horses and I'm sure 57 better films could have been made on the $57 million budget that this film was produced on.