Review Date: November 17, 2003
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Ken Kaufman
Producers: Brian Grazer, Daniel Ostroff
Cate Blanchett as Maggie Gilkeson
Tommy Lee Jones as Samuel Jones
Evan Rachel Wood as Lily
And in typical Howard style, the film will likely entertain most everyone with its heart in the right place, a few thrilling moments, a shoot-out scene or two, a voodoo curse or three and a cameo by a bearded Val Kilmer? (seriously, was that him?) Tommy Lee Jones was "okay" and it was especially nice to see him tackling a role that was a change of pace for him. Instead of being a "tracker" in modern day times, he's a "tracker" during the late 1800s here. Way to stretch those acting muscles, TJ! He did have one of the film's funnier lines though, as he's shooting the shit with his Indian friend between battles and asks if he's still banging that "fat girl" up North. Boys will be boys, eh? Blanchett, on the other hand, continues to impress, playing a headstrong woman, who unlike many ladies of her time, wears the pants in her household, chops wood and even kicks a little bum. She's particularly great during the scene in which she confronts Jones' character early on in the film. Wow...that chick is angry! Another required element in a film of this sort is a believable "bad guy" and I'm happy to report that the Orc-like lead Indian baddie here was scary as shit. The man's crater-face alone scared the beejesus out of me. I also liked how the picture spent just enough time with the enemy to establish their point of view as well. Giving the Indians both a "good" and "bad" side also made sense, despite it feeling like it might have been done on account of political and correctness reasons. All that to say that this film didn't exactly remain ingrained in my mind as I walked out the door, onto the streets and straight into the nearest drinking hole, but it was enjoyable enough to sit through, featured yet another solid performance by the always-reliable Blanchett and sure looked mighty pretty. Now back to the point at hand: was that really Val Kilmer?!?