All the Pretty Horses
reviewed by Lynn Barker
Matt Damon on a horse for four hours! Ouch! This film was
shot in '99 (Leo DiCaprio was originally going to play Matt's
part) and when Director Billy Bob Thornton turned in his
looooong Western, the studio said "Nope, Pard". So it was
back to the cutting room and we finally have a "fanny friendly"
two hour film.
In this "coming of age" western adventure set in 1949,
young Texan cowboys JOHN GRADY COLE (Matt Damon) and best
bud LACEY RAWLINS (Henry Thomas) climb on their ponies and
hit the road to Mexican adventure after Cole's mom sells
the family ranch. On their way to find cow punching work
south of the border, the guys hook up with 15-year-old JIMMY
BLEVINS, a misfit runaway who may have stolen the horse
Blevins and the guys part company and Cole and Rawlins
get jobs breaking horses at a huge Hacienda owned by big-time
Latino rancher DON HECTOR ROCHA (Ruben Blades) who happens
to have a bodacious daughter ALEJANDRA (Penelope Cruz).
Cole falls hard for the hot tamale but the romance lands
Cole and Rawlins in jail where they reunite briefly with
the unlucky Blevins and have to grow up fast or die. It
is Cole's honor and purity of spirit that pulls him through.
This critic grew up in the Southwestern United States
and I see a lot of my dad in the Cole character. Matt Damon
has the young Southwestern man down to a science. His earnest
face, ache for adventure and "aw shucks" accent and attitude
will make girls want to date him and guys want to make him
their best bud. Also excellent is "E.T's now grown up little
buddy Henry Thomas who is a cutie and quite wonderful as
Damon's worried side-kick. Young Lucas Black whom you've
probably seen in the X-FILES MOVIE or various stints on
t.v., is both comic and pitiable as the drifter Blevins.
Penelope Cruz is one hot senorita and it's nice to see the
X-Files' new star Robert Patrick in a brief but effective
scene as Cole's down-on-his-luck dad.
ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, based on a best-selling novel,
is about 3 young guys on the adventure of their lives. It's
about love found and lost and above all, the high cost some
young people must pay for honor. It you like Matt Damon
or Penelope Cruz, beautiful skies or just a good coming
of age adventure, go see this film. If you hate anything
with horses in it, stay home.
Directed by: Billy Bob Thornton
Screenplay by: Ted Tally (based on the novel by Cormac
McCarthy) Starring: Matt Damon as John Grady Cole
Henry Thomas as Lacey Rawlins