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September 20, 2008



When small-town big fish Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) kills a sheriff and his two deputies, the town enlists the peacekeeping services of marshal-for-hire Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and his loyal partner Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) in this inventive twist on the western genre by jack-of-all-trades Ed Harris. The movie’s big surprise is Renee Zellweger as opportunist tramp Allison French, who captures Virgil’s romantic imagination in spite of her wandering ways. The dialogue is snappy, and the gun action kept on a more realistic level in an enjoyable western that plays with genre convention to humorous and dramatically satisfying results. Jeremy Irons is miscast as the film’s politically driven baddie, but the easy rapport between Harris and Mortensen more than compensates for the minor misstep.

Rated R. 116 mins. (B) (Three Stars)


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