Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Movie Called Turkey?

Don't get me wrong. A Man Called Horse has a certain charm to it as a quasi-biographical piece and as a neo-Western. On the other hand, the crying Italian Indian plays a prominent role in it.
Shall I go on? Oh yes I shall. But let's face it. Before a guy settles into a role like Dumbledore he's got to have one last fling. But not just any fling. Someone exotic, ideally. And the Natalie Wood-Native American chick will do just fine... I forget her name already. Now, they go without subtitles on the one hand, which is always a brave choice arguably, in this age of closed captioning up the yin yang. On the other hand they come up with an ingenious device: a Frenchman who also speaks English whose family was killed by the Indians but now lives among them, acting crazy to get out of doing any chores. Plausible at first, but once he starts translating, seems a bit plot-device-y. Again, that's probably just cynical ol' me. He speaks of escape, but if this were made today he would eventually concede that he likes it better where he is in the now. Speaking of Avatar, you might remember that its main character spoke of making a big dumb gesture... something like that. Well, Richard Harris has his own version of that! I wouldn't dream of spoiling it, but it ends up working and ingratiates him with the tribe's warriors; borrowed later by The Man Who Would Be King, maybe.
I guess that's about all the nitpicking I can think of. Kind of a standard Western: there's a big attack at the end, as there should be. Tradition dictates it. The characters are somewhat original. Harris plays a younger, more idealistic version of his Unforgiven character, tee hee hee. Nice to see Dub Taylor; disturbing to see the lack of teeth. And I'm a sucker for just about anything in Panavision with big tracking shots that make the picture look like it's being projected onto a giant ball. There's a disclaimer at the beginning of the film that says the "Vow to the Sun" was outlawed by the U.S. government. But the older I get, the more I squeam at movie violence, and the more I think that it's probably for the best that the Vow to the Sun is outlawed. But who knows? Given this generation's veneration of scars and tattoos, it may make a comeback someday.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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