All the Pretty Horses (film)

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All the Pretty Horses
All the Pretty Horses Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Billy Bob Thornton
Produced by Robert Salerno
Billy Bob Thornton
Screenplay by Ted Tally
Based on All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Starring Matt Damon
Penélope Cruz
Henry Thomas
Lucas Black
Music by Marty Stuart
Kristin Wilkinson
Larry Paxton
Cinematography Barry Markowitz
Edited by Sally Menke
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
(US)
Miramax Films
(Non-US)
Release dates
  • December 25, 2000 (2000-12-25)
Running time 116 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $57 million[1]
Box office $18,133,495[1]

All the Pretty Horses is a 2000 American romance western film, directed by Billy Bob Thornton and based on the novel of the same title by author Cormac McCarthy. It stars Matt Damon as John Grady Cole, the main character and Penélope Cruz as Alejandra Villarreal, the central character. The film received mostly negative reviews and grossed only $18 million worldwide.

Plot[edit]

In 1949, young cowboy John Grady Cole's maternal grandfather dies. John had grown up on his grandfather's ranch, but it was put up for sale when the old man died. His mother has no ties to it anymore, and would rather have the money. With no home, John asks his best friend Lacey Rawlins to leave his family ranch in San Angelo, Texas and join him to travel on horseback to cross the border 150 miles south, entering Mexico to seek work. They encounter a peculiar 13-year-old boy named Jimmy Blevins on the trail to Mexico, whom they befriend but from whom they then separated. Later on they meet a young aristocrat's daughter, Alejandra Villarreal, with whom Cole falls in love.

Cole and Rawlins become hired hands for Alejandra's father, who likes their work, but Cole's romantic interest in his daughter is unwelcomed by her wealthy aunt. After Alejandra is taken away by her father, Cole and Rawlins are arrested by Mexican police and taken to jail, where they again encounter Blevins, who has been accused of stealing a horse and murder. He is killed by a corrupt police captain. Cole and Rawlins are sent to a Mexican prison for abetting Blevins' crime, where they must defend themselves against dangerous inmates. The pair are both nearly killed.

Cole is freed by the aunt of Alejandra on the condition that she never sees him again. Rawlins is also freed. While Rawlins returns to his parents' ranch in Texas, Cole attempts to reunite with Alejandra over her family's objections. Her aunt is confident that Alejandra will keep her word and not get back together with Cole - so much so that she even gives him her niece's phone number. Cole urges Alejandra to come to Texas with him. She, however, decides she must keep her word and though she loves him, she will not go with him.

Cole then sets out to get revenge on the captain who took the Blevins boy's life, as well as to get back his and Lacey's and Blevins' horses. After making the captain his prisoner, he turns him over to Mexican men, including one with whom he previously shared a cell when they were both imprisoned by the captain. Cole is spared the decision to kill the captain, but it is implied the men whom the captain was turned over to will do that.

Reentering the USA and riding through a small town in Texas, towing two horses behind the one he is riding, he stops to inquire what day it is (it is Thanksgiving Day). He asks a couple of men if they would be interested in buying a rifle, as he needs the money. One is a sheriff's deputy and arrests him because all three horses have different brands and Cole is suspect as a horse thief.

In court, Cole tells the judge his story from the beginning. The judge believes him and orders Cole freed and the horses returned to him. Later that evening, Cole shows up at the judge's home, troubled. The judge had said good things about him in court, but Cole feels guilty that Blevins was killed - and while there was nothing he could have done to prevent the killing, he never even spoke up at the time and is upset with himself for that. The judge tells him he is being too hard on himself and it could not have been helped; he must go on and live his life.

Coming towards the end of the film, Cole rides up to Lacey Rawlins on his family's ranch and asks him if he wants his horse back.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

After Billy Bob Thornton completed his cut (said to be somewhere between three and four hours) producer/distributor Harvey Weinstein forced him to cut more than one hour out of it. Peter Biskind suggests in his book Down and Dirty Pictures that this was at least partially done as payback for Thornton's refusal to cut Sling Blade.

Thornton's cut had an effect on the storytelling. Matt Damon was publicly critical of this decision, saying to Entertainment Weekly, "You can't cut 35% of the movie and expect it to be the same movie."

Some attempts have been made to release a director's cut DVD, but arrangements can not be reached with the composer of the film's music, Daniel Lanois. As part of the re-cut, Weinstein scrapped the original score and hired Marty Stuart. Lanois felt insulted, and has steadfastly refused to license his score (which, unusually, he owns) to any release of the film.[citation needed]

Critical response[edit]

Reviews of the film were generally negative, criticizing it as a poor adaptation of the novel and a dramatically un-involving film. It currently holds a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 99 reviews.[2]

Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum said: "Faced with a choice of blunt instruments with which to beat a good book into a bad movie, director Billy Bob Thornton chooses heavy, random, arty imagery and a leaden pace."[3] The New York Times reviewer A. O. Scott thought the film "as slick and superficial as a Marlboro advertisement"[4]

Roger Ebert disagreed, awarding the film three-and-a-half out of a possible four.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "All the Pretty Horses (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  2. ^ "All the Pretty Horses Movie". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 9 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  3. ^ "All the Pretty Horses". Entertainment Weekly. 2000-12-22. Retrieved 2010-01-22. [dead link]
  4. ^ Scott, A. O. (December 25, 2000). "All the Pretty Horses". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 22, 2000). "All the Pretty Horses Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 

External links[edit]