BlackthornFeature Film |
Sam Shepard's screen presence can't enliven this tepid Western.
Blackthorn is a pretty, but slow-moving and finally uninvolving revisionist Western. Sam Shepard stars as the legendary Butch Cassidy, who has lain low in Bolivia for over two decades under the name "James Blackthorn," while the rest of the world thought he was dead. A woman he once loved has died in the U.S., and he's saved up enough cash for a homecoming to meet her son. He loses his horse and all his savings when he runs into Eduardo (Eduardo Noriega), a Spanish engineer who has robbed the mining company he worked for, and is on the lam. The unlikely pair joins forces, and before long, Butch finds himself hunted again. Shepard brings an effortless, grizzled gravitas to the role, and there is some striking imagery as Butch and Eduardo make their way across the desert. But director Mateo Gil displays his influences too blatantly, from John Ford classicism to Deadwood-style profanity, and the story just drags along. The landscapes of the Old West and of Shepard's face could make for fascinating cinema, but they aren't enough to enliven Blackthorn's ho-hum plot and musty morality tale.