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Saturday, 29 March 2014
"Blackthorn" on BLU RAY – A Review Of The 2011 Film Starring Sam Sheppard
Here is a link to Amazon UK to get this BLU RAY at the best price:
"…Sometimes It's Beautiful…" - Blackthorn on BLU RAY
Heroic leaders of the Wild Bunch and The Train Robbers
Syndicate – Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid were eventually hounded into
South America where both died in a shoot out with the military at San Vicente
in 1908. But recent excavations for their bones have revealed that neither set
of remains is there. Enter Director MATEO GIL and Writer MIGUEL BAROS and their
superb 2011 film "Blackthorn" - 'reinterpreting' the lives of those
men of folklore and Wild West legends.
It’s now 1927 and James Blackthorn (the older Butch Cassidy
played to grizzly perfection by the hugely watchable Sam Sheppard) lives a
simple life as a horse-breeder in a tiny farmstead in the Bolivian Mountains -
occasionally visited by his local lover/maid Yana (great work by Magaly
Solier). He writes letters to his nephew Ryan in America signed by Uncle Butch
telling the lad they will soon be joined at last and live out a good life
But on the way back from a horse trade/card game in a nearby
town – a desperate Spaniard called Eduardo Apodaca robs him of $6000. The man
from Madrid claims he only shot at Blackthorn’s horse because he himself is
being hunted – but not for fame to prove the legend still lives – but for
$50,000 hidden in a mine – the fruits of a greedy land boss who’s fleeced the
locals of everything. The charming Eduardo promises he’ll pay back Blackthorn
everything he’s lost – and the two outlaws form a wary and unlikely alliance
out of necessity as they try to evade a posse of 12 Chilean horsemen who know
the terrain and seem relentless in their pursuit.
Cleverly flashing back to the younger Butch Cassidy and The
Sundance Kid between 1900 and 1908 - what happened to them and their feisty
lady in tow Etta Place - slowly begins to unfold. The young Butch and Sundance
are played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Games Of Thrones) and Padraic Delaney with
Etta portrayed by the exquisitely beautiful Dominique McElligott (the camera
adores this woman – the stunning looks of Olivia Wilde meets the playfulness of
Taylor Schilling).Thrown into this
heady mix is Stephen Rea as Irishman MacKinley who once had the famous duo in
his custodial grasp only to be made a fool of for the rest of his life
(fabulous work by Rea as the older drunk and embittered version). And on it
goes to a gun-battle with desperados in the scorching white arid expanse of the
Salt Flats where Eduardo may not have been entirely honest with Blackthorn…
Handsome male and female leads in Frontier garb, horses
galloping across grassy plains, campfires in the moonlight, water dripping onto
gravel mountain paths, dirty faces in dusty shacks, women wearing Pollera
pleated-skirts, Manta woollen shawls and round bowlers hats while they holster
guns in rot-gut Chicha bars along railway tracks… As you can imagine
"Blackthorn" is a looker on BLU RAY. Defaulted to 16 x 9 – it also
fills the full screen beautifully - grittily realistic and as the Spaniard says
looking out over canyons - "Sometimes it's beautiful…" Audio is 5.1
English DTS-HD, there are no subtitles and disappointingly there are no extras
Rewatching it on BLU RAY for a second time
"Blackthorn" proves a far more rewarding Western fix than I'd first
thought and in some ways is better than the more vaunted "True Grit".
Mount up your mule, fix your rimmed hat, stick a cigar in your mouth, scratch
your whiskers, get your ukulele out and start singing "Damn your
eyes…" out loud all the way home to your ye-ha ranch.