For this month’s first review for Genre Grandeur – Westerns, here’s a review of Broken Trail (2006) by Catherine of Thoughts All Sorts Thanks again to Catherine of Thoughts All Sorts for choosing this month’s genre. Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Sean of SeanMunger.com We will be reviewing our favorite Nautical Film. “Loosely defined […]
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I’m going to take a little bit of a liberty here (but then I’ve found out that Rob of Movie Rob has done the same with another Western) and will include what’s deemed a mini-series into the Genre Grandeur. I hope you can forgive me. It is well worth it. And because it is “only” 2 parts, let’s pretend it is just a very long movie. (Big grin here) (Oh, I just read that it was originally meant to be a feature film..so there). Here goes:
Another Western with Robert Duvall in the role of the wise and compassionate trail-boss (the other was Open Range that I’ve likewise reviewed for this Genre Grandeur series. In fact, both Westerns also star James Russo). Here he plays Print Ritter who inherits a substantial ranch which should have gone to his nephew Tom (Thomas Haden Church) but due to Tom‘s lack of interest, didn’t. Wanting to right things, Print sells off the land to buy horses, seeks out Tom and starts the journey from Oregon to Wyoming. They head off with the intention of remaining a two-man outfit. Not long into the story Tom brings back Gilpin (Scott Cooper), mainly because he feels the need for a fiddle player along the trail. Shortly after that, they are joined by Captain Billy Fender (James Russo) and his band of “celestial brides”, 5 Chinese girl/ladies whom he intends to sell into prostitution. Circumstances leave these girls the charge of Print, and more reluctantly, Tom. Along the way to Wyoming, they are joined by others, some in dire need of a second chance others intent on stealing both the horses and the ladies/girls. What unfolds is a beautiful, sometimes tragic, story of trust, respect, love and fighting for what is dear to you. The fact that there are still people with genuine intentions amidst the scoundrels taking advantage is portrayed with lots of heart.
Absolutely wonderful western with some beautiful scenery. Definitely one of my favourites which is easily re-watchable. Robert Duvall comes across so genuine in these respected-and-wise-elder-figure roles. But it is Thomas Haden Church who I think is perfect here. Starting off as fairly disappointed and probably bitter (even indifferent) man, the job really does become his personal journey, leaving him a more positive person. What I appreciate is that he doesn’t undergo the cliché 180 degree change, but a more realistic one. Oh, the subtle nuances in the various friendships and relationships that develop are beautiful. Especially where there are language barriers.
The entire cast does a wonderful job under the direction of Walter Hill. They include characters Nola Jones (Greta Scacchi), Ghee Moon/Number 1 (Jadyn Wong), Mai Ling/Number 2 (Caroline Chan), Sun Fu/Number 3 (Gwendoline Yeo), Ye Fung/Number 4 (Olivia Cheng), Ging Wa/Number 5 (Valerie Tian), Lung Hay (Donald Fong), Big Ears (Chris Mulkey) and Big Rump Kate (Rusty Schwimmer).
Deserving of the 3 Golden Globe nominations but unfortunately no wins: Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television, Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television (Robert Duvall) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television (Thomas Haden Church)