Director Billy Bob Thornton watched his second movie to reach theaters, All the Pretty Horses, flop horribly around Christmas time, and must have wondered what caused this movie to be such a failure. After watching the movie myself, I have to ask the same question.
All the Pretty Horses stars Matt Damon as John Grady, a young cowboy who travels to Mexico shortly after World War II. He begins an affair with the daughter of the ranch owner, played by Penelope Cruz, but their romance is cut short when he is taking to prison. All the Pretty Horses follows his 'adventures' as his life has ups and downs, and the movie successfully combines drama, realism, and entertainment to make two hours worth watching.
I think what hurt All the Pretty Horses in the long run is its devotion to the character John Grady, and not as much to a specific story. I had no problem with it and actually, I liked the change of pace for once, except for in the last twenty minutes. The first part of the movie is a typical cow herding cowboy movie, the middle is a romance, the follow up is a prison story, and the ending... Well, I'll get to the ending later. Basically, though, All the Pretty Horses isn't as consistent to the story as it is to the character.
For the first hour and a half, All the Pretty Horses is surprisingly entertaining. It has comedy, adventure, drama, romance, and just about everything else you can want. Lucas Black lends a good deal of support in the entertainment section.
The thing that really hurts All the Pretty Horses is the ending. It is hard to complain about without giving anything a way, but it seems very inconclusive, dry, boring, and unrelated to the rest of the movie. It seems to be delivering some kind of moral message (or at least telling what the message in the movie is), but doesn't get the point across. Even in the last scenes with Penelope Cruz, the movie seems to be losing focus, and it just goes downhill from there.
All the Pretty Horses is a good movie, but don't expect much of anything from the ending.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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