So these two lonesome strangers mosey into this dusty little wind-swept burg called Appaloosa...

No! ...Wait! ...FIRST we have to start with the cold-blooded murder of a sheriff and his two deputies by a wealthy cattle rancher, played by Jeremy Irons ("Inland Empire" and "The Colour of Magic") who is flanked by his numerous henchmen, THEN the two lonesome strangers mosey into town.

Laconic, taciturn and wryly humorous, both Ed Harris ("The Truman Show" and "A History of Violence") and Viggo Mortensen ("Hidalgo" and "Eastern Promises") portray the iconic Western anti-hero, hired by the intimidated town elders to "clean up this town."

Director Ed Harris ("Pollock"), who also adapted the script from the Robert B. Parker novel, has opted for the classic Western genre, and in this, I think, he doesn't disappoint. Maybe I'm just not a fan...

In fact, by the time the young widow comes to town, I was looking desperately for something new. Actually, as portrayed by Renée Zellweger ("Chicago" and "Bridget Jones's Diary"), her character is just that - quite a character. We didn't expect her to be quite so subtly brazen or so slyly forward. In a word: Pragmatic.

I was grateful for several things:
  • No stampede
  • The gunfights are brief
  • Little or no profanity (or maybe I just couldn't hear it!)
My major complaint was with the soundtrack. I wasn't the only one who had trouble deciphering the dialog. I was envious of those lucky folks who were able to make out enough of it to laugh at the many clever turns of phrase that lace the script. I guess I'll just have to settle for the DVD with captions when it comes out.