HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO, HOW MUCH WOULD YOU SACRIFICE TO GET BACK WHAT YOU HAVE LOST?
New Mexico, 1885; Magdalena Gilkeson’s (Cate Blanchett) daughter is kidnapped by slave traders and she’s forced to work with her estranged father (Tommy Lee Jones) who knows how to track them down. A surprisingly involving (and occasionally cruel) western, very different from the director’s previous Far and Away (1992). The film is long but exciting, nicely produced (with a terrific score by James Horner), and manages to include mystical ingredients without turning silly. The mood is unsentimental, but it is still easy to be moved by events in the story. Superior acting by Blanchett as the strong frontier woman and Evan Rachel Wood as her daughter.
2003-U.S. 135 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Daniel Ostroff. Directed by Ron Howard. Screenplay: Ken Kaufman. Novel: Thomas Eidson (“The Last Ride”). Cinematography: Salvatore Totino. Music: James Horner. Cast: Tommy Lee Jones (Samuel Jones), Cate Blanchett (Magdalena Gilkeson), Eric Schweig (El Brujo), Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd, Steve Reevis… Val Kilmer, Aaron Eckhart, Elisabeth Moss.
Trivia: Also available in a 154-min. version.
Last word: “There’s a lot of stunt riding required and I didn’t want to be in the position where I was saying to Ron, ‘I can’t do that, it’s too difficult.’ So I got there six weeks early and I rode out every day with the stunt guys and the wranglers. And then when Tommy Lee came we rode out together, and the girls, and it was a really, it was almost like silent rehearsal. We’re all getting to know one another by riding out into the middle of nowhere. So I loved it.” (Blanchett, Coming Soon)