Unfairly maligned revisionist Western about a pair of gunmen who clean up Western towns- Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. They’ve been working together so long that they;’re closer than fellow soldiers in a long war. They get hired to bring law to a frontier town where Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) and his men have had their way for too long. Ed’s damn quick with a gun, and Viggo lugs around an 8-gauge shotgun that looks like two lengths of sewer pipe over his shoulder, capable of peppering entire gangs with buckshot with one pull of the trigger.
Things get complicated when a Renee Zellweger, “a woman who ain’t married or a whore,” comes to town. Ed falls for her hard, and is quite innocent in the ways of women. And as a woman in the wild west, she has a way of “always landing on her feet.” It’s not as straightforward as 3:10 to Yuma, nor as contemplative as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but somewhere in-between. I enjoyed the characters and the story, and while the end seems a bit rushed, it works. If you’re expecting a simple shoot-out movie, you may be angry at Zellweger’s intrusion, but she’s much of the point of the tale- just listen when she’s dismissed from the “man talk” and performs scales on her piano. Passive-aggressive much? We also get a fine bit part by Lance Henriksen as another hired gun. If you like modern westerns, this is a good one, based on a Robert “Spenser” Parker novel.
8 out of 12 gauges