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Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: dave jenkins on October 13, 2011, 11:28:34 AM

Title: Blackthorn (2011)
Post by: dave jenkins on October 13, 2011, 11:28:34 AM
Anybody going to see this?

Title: Re: Blackthorn (2011)
Post by: titoli on October 13, 2011, 01:02:15 PM
Hmm, Sam Shepard as a screenwriter is a guarantee of uninterrupted sleep. As a lead...I'll leave you the honor to watch it as first.

Title: Re: Blackthorn (2011)
Post by: noodles_leone on October 13, 2011, 01:46:21 PM
I wanted to give it a try, it was released here a few weeks ago. It's probably too late now.

Title: Re: Blackthorn (2011)
Post by: dave jenkins on October 15, 2011, 08:16:57 AM
OK, saw it, it's not so great, I give it 6/10. Mostly set in 1927, it follows the further adventures of Butch Cassidy who, we learn, wasn't killed by Bolivian soldiers in 1908. What's he been doing for 20 years? Going to bed early, apparently. He's been hiding out in Bolivia, raising horses. He's getting ready to cash out and head back to the States when his path crosses that of a larcenous Spaniard with whom he forms a sudden and uneasy partnership. The two men are then pursued (by Indian gunmen and--as it turns out--Indian gunwomen) with extreme prejudice. The chase structure plays to the film's one advantage, the Bolivian locations. It looks like every frame was shot there, and Bolivia, which I don't remember ever seeing on film before, is in turns austere and beautiful. There's one particularly memorable sequence where the men have to cross some very impressive salt flats. Little attempt is made to make the characters sound period--they talk just like characters in films set in 2011. Sam Shepherd isn't bad, he does the grizzled old man bit well, but we have to endure his singing in several scenes (the reason he agreed to appear in this low-budget film, probably). There's also several flashbacks to Butch and Sundance's South American Adventure (1900-1908) which, if I recall, was adequately covered in another film. The plot turns out to be rather stupid, but the photography is very nice.

Title: Re: Blackthorn (2011)
Post by: Dust Devil on September 20, 2014, 12:07:29 PM
Yeah that's it more or less, more more than less. Outstanding locations.


Title: Re: Blackthorn (2011)
Post by: Spikeopath on February 09, 2017, 10:04:58 PM

Ain't no grave hold my body down.

Blackthorn is directed by Mateo Gil and written by Miguel Barros. It stars Sam Shepard, Eduardo Noriega, Stephen Rea, Magaly Solier, Nikolaj Costsr-Waldau, Padraic Delaney and Dominique McElligott. Music is by Lucio Godoy and cinematography by Juan Ruiz Anchia.

It was believed that Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid both perished at the hands of the Bolivian army in 1908. Not so, for here is Butch Cassidy 20 years after the supposed event, alive and well and living in a secluded Bolivian village under the name James Blackthorn…

What a lovely idea, that of one of history's most famous outlaws actually living longer than history led us to believe. OK, it's a scratchy premise but it allows for a quite elegiac film as we follow an older and grizzled Cassidy on another adventure. That adventure sees him team up with mischievous Spaniard Eduardo Apodaca, the latter of which tries to rob Blackthorn/Cassidy and then offers to repay the old outlaw with the proceeds from some hidden loot stashed away from a robbery. They set off and sure enough there is a posse on their tail, meaning the pair have to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, something which puts the twinkle back in Cassidy's eyes. But not all is as it seems and with flash backs showing Butch and Sundance in their prime (Waldau as the young Cassidy is an inspired choice as per likeness to Shepard), aided by the feisty Etta Place, this is a fully rounded tale.

The film quite simply is unhurried and respectful to the art of story telling and is rich with a lead characterisation of considerable substance (Shepard is wonderful, really gets to the soul of the character). Oh it is punctured by the odd action scene, even some humour is in the mix, there's even time for machismo and romantic threads of worth, but this beats a melancholy heart and is All the better for it. It also happens to be one of the most gorgeously photographed Westerns of the modern era. Filmed primarily on location in Bolivia, the landscapes – be it the mountainous ranges or pin sharp salt flats – are sublime, God's wonderful Earth in all its glory expertly realised by Anchia, marking this out as an absolute Blu-ray essential for Western fans big into location photography. While Godoy's musical score is pitch perfect for the tonal flows in the narrative.

There's the odd cliché, Rea is a touch wasted and some may decry the simplicity of plot, but this is thoughtful and awash with the love of the Western genre. If only for Shepard and the photography then this is worth it for Western fans, as it is it also calls out to those who like some emotional reflection in their Oaters. 8/10