Review Date: April 18, 2008
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
Producers: Cathy Konrad
Christian Bale as Dan Evans
Russell Crowe as Ben
Ben Foster as Charlie
And I realize that every character has an arc to go through, but I ultimately didn’t like where his character’s arc ended. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I wish his actions would have been different in the end scenes. In relation to that, the film’s conclusion didn’t really blow me away, in terms of the storyline, but thankfully for us, its gun battles were pretty fun to watch, especially as the film wound down. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the film’s stronger points, along with its score, cinematography and plays on morality, and that would be the performance by Ben Foster, who takes a small-ish role as the “sidekick” and really brings on the menace, the grit, the killings and heck…the fuckin’ inner-cowboy! I think I would have preferred had he been the lead instead of Crowe’s character…I mean, this dude didn’t take shit from anybody…now that’s a bad guy!! I’m also gonna try and purchase myself a similar looking leather button-clad coat off Ebay, just so that I can pretend that I’m half as cool as Foster’s character. Go Ben!
Gretchen Mol (remember her from ROUNDERS?) and Peter Fonda also provided some interesting secondary characters, and I gotta give props to the kid who played Bale’s defiant son in the film as well, Logan Lerman. By the way, is it possible that his character grows up to become Billy the Kid? (his name is William, he’s badass, his dad’s a sharpshooter and he was only 14 at the time) Things that make you go hmmmmm? The film isn’t perfect – including an odd appearance by Luke Wilson and a doctor joining them for the ride, which didn’t seem to make much sense to me – but overall, it was a darn entertaining Western featuring some top-notch performances by cool men actors, including a memorable turn by Ben Foster and plenty of gunplay for…well, people who love the gunplay. Oh and actress Vinessa Shaw is very hot.