Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama,Romance All the Pretty Horses (2000)

All the Pretty Horses (2000)

All the Pretty Horses

Lose yourself in a western this week, as HBO OnDemand features “All the Pretty Horses” starring Matt Damon, Henry Thomas and Penelope Cruz struggling to make sense of their lives in post World War II Texas and Mexico. 

John Grady Cole (Damon) and Lacey Rawlins (Thomas) set off on horseback to look for work on a ranch in Mexico after John’s grandfather passes away and his estranged mother sells the ranch where he grew up.  On the way, the boys meet Jimmy Blevins (Lucas Black) who promises to be more trouble than expected.  During a thunderstorm, Blevins loses his horse, only to find it at a nearby ranch and proceeds to steal it back, and while he escapes, John and Lacey lose track of him.  Soon afterwards, they begin working at a ranch owned by Hector de la Rocha (Reuben Blades).   John challenges himself to break sixteen horses in four days and after his success, Rocha promotes him to work with his horses.  John falls in love with Rocha’s daughter, Alejandra (Cruz), but their love affair ends when she returns to Mexico City.  The next day, Mexican police arrest John and Lacey and they begin a surreal nightmare in the Mexican justice system.

As the story unfolds, John and Lacey become increasingly isolated from the people around them because of their status as “gringos”.  Director Billy Bob Thornton uses the camera to show how the Mexican community segregates the two Americans by purposely showing them eating at a separate table or sitting away from anyone else.  Thornton also uses the camera to show intense emotions by using extreme headshots during conversations. For instance, when John is talking to Alejandara during a love scene, instead of having the characters pressed close together, we see them talking to each other one at a time. 

Filmed in some of the most beautiful locations in the American Southwest, the scenery of “All the Pretty Horses” is stunniningly breathtaking.  While watching, I felt I was outside riding a horse with the main characters.  I could almost feel the breeze in the trees and the splash of the water as they crossed the river.

“All the Pretty Horses” made me laugh, cry, and care about the main characters.  I wanted to jump in and rescue the boys from their nightmare in prison.  “All the Pretty Horses” is a must-see for anyone that likes to “lose” themselves in a movie.

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