All the Pretty Horses (2000)

Matt Damon, Penélope Cruz, Henry Thomas, Angelina Torres,
Two Texas cowboys head to Mexico in search of work, but soon find themselves in trouble with the law after one of them falls in love with a wealthy rancher's daughter.
  • 5.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Cormac McCarthy, Ted Tally, Writer:
  • Billy Bob Thornton, Director:
  • Robert Salerno, Producer:


/ 10

Cormac McCarthy's novel, All The Pretty Horses, the first part of hisbreath-taking Border Trilogy, is one of the most perfect sourcematerials ever written. Add to this the impressive line-up of talent(Ted Tally adapting, Thornton directing, Matt Damon, back when he was ahot property the first time around, starring) assembled for the filmversion and it's fair to say my expectations were raised sky high. Whenthe film came out it was buried by the distributor. I managed to catchit in the one week it played at a single cinema in Edinburgh and Iwould be lying if I didn't admit that the whole experience was acrushing disappointment. It wasn't that the film makers had ballsed thewhole thing up, no it was much more frustrating than that. You couldtell that somewhere in that film there was a masterpiece straining toget out. Individual sequences impressed but the whole thing moved atsuch a frenzied pace that the main characters' journey, a true rite ofpassage in the novel, had become damagingly truncated. The result wasunderwhelming but at the same time as been annoyed at the film I couldtell it wasn't the film makers' fault. It was all too apparent thatthis was a great film that had had it's guts, it's heart, it's veryessence, chopped out of it by a greedy distributor trying to market thefilm as some kind of Titanic / Young Guns cross over. Guess what, thismovie was never going to appeal to the teeny boppers. If only thestudio could have realized that and been true to the property theyacquired in the first place. My suspicions were confirmed recently whenI read an article wherein Matt Damon, a fine actor despite thecriticism, claimed that Billy Bob Thornton's integral cut of the movieis the best he's ever been involved in. I don't know about you but thatmakes me want to see it. Apparently the studio are willing to releasethis extended cut on DVD (all revenue streams reach the oceaneventually) but Thornton won't settle for anything less than a fullcinematic re-release. I can't say I blame him, I get the impression hisfilm deserves at least that much. So for now I can't recommend thisfilm, check out the novel instead and then the rest of CormacMcCarthy's back catalogue. But let's hope that in the not too distantfuture this film finally gets the treatment I suspect it deserves.

10/10 / 10

This is a hard film to pin down...given the spoon-fed plots we've allbeenconditioned to follow. It's sold as a love story, but that's one smallbendin the film's long, dusty road. If I had to classify it in conventionalterms, I'd put it somewhere between "coming of age" and an "americanodyssey." It's spread out and slowly told--that's the nature of thesubject.But to hell with all that.

I love this film. It's haunting. It's like putting on your favorite oldpair of dusty old boots with their third soles and fifth heels, andkickingyour feet up onto a hitching rail while you're waiting for the day tocooloff. This is the story of John Grady Cole's serious loss of innocence.Heis a stoic, simple, gentle, moral, responsible, sensible, well-manneredyoung Texan dropped into some extreme circumstances where his characteristested and proven. The crafting of the film appears to be a directextensionof his character. From Barry Markowitz' big-sky, muted-color, wide-open,slowly-moving cinematography, Clark Hunter's simple yet brilliantproductiondesign, to Sally Menke's minimalist editing, all elements of this filmcombine to reflect the purity, simplicity and grace of it's protagonist.The create a purely american western MOOD, and I love the way this filmfeels when I watch it.

I love Matt Damon's Texas drawl. Hell, I love EVERYONE'S Texas drawl inthis film.I love the unspoken, little-expressed love between his character andHenryThomas' character, Lacy Rawlins.I love Lucas Black's rough-edged teenager in big trouble, and how hedesperately reverts to his recently-lost childhood when he's beingdraggedoff to certain death.I love how Billy Bob Thornton takes his time telling this tale...that'stheway his main characters approach everything...patiently.I love seeing two friends riding together toward who-knows-what in themiddle of a vast wilderness.I love how even when John Grady Cole is enraged, he's still polite andrational.I just love the RICHNESS of this film--you can TASTE the cider when theseguys pull over to buy a drink. You can TASTE the beans they eat inprison.You can SMELL the dust and the sage everywhere. You can FEEL how soretheyare after 4 days of breaking horses.I even love the way "John Grady Cole" sounds when they say it.

I'm trying to put my finger on it, but I can't...this film's like a glassofwonderful wine you weren't expecting.

But I saved the best for last: the most magnificent thing about "All thePretty Horses," the force that binds all the rich, disparate pleasures ofwatching this film together, and expresses the subdued, pure emotions ofit's protagonist, is Marty Stuart's exquisite score. It's warm like oldwood and worn's part mariachi, part spanish, part classicwestern film score, part bluegrass, but it is PERFECT FOR THIS FILM. It'sconstructed entirely around a simple, graceful phrase on a spanish guitar(obviously a representation of the contents of John Grady Cole's pureTexasheart) I'm not even going to try to express any more about how great Ithinkit is...I'll just get more frustrated than I already am. Needless tosay, Ilisten to it again and again and again.

I just happen to love this movie. I'm more surprised than anyone else.Iguess you could say, "I'm plum stuck on it--and I don't give too hoots inaholler what the rest of y'all might think about it neither."

10/10 / 10

This is an excellent, epic western saga about two Texans who wind up inMexico and all the trials and tribulations they go through, most ofwhich are fascinating. I've watched this film several times and it getsbetter and better with each viewing. The acting, storytelling andmagnificent photography all made it a treasure of a film....and a veryunderrated movie. It's easy to get very involved in this haunting tale.

Those two lead guys are played by Matt Damon ("John Grady Cole") andHenry Thomas ("Lacey Rawlins.") Along the way they are joined by themost interesting character of all of them: "Jimmy Blevins," played byLucas Black. Jimmy is a nice kid but he's big-time trouble. Hishaunting face in his last scene is memorable.

Penelope Cruz is the attractive love interest, surrounded by aprotective Mexican family. That family, mainly a father and aunt, werereally enjoyable to watch, too, and I wish they had bigger roles inhere.

Not only is the acting good and photography stunning, the soundtrackwith Spanish music is outstanding. I've read they actually filmed thisfor a four- hour movie. Man, I'd love to see that.

The only things I didn't care for were Thomas' blasphemous mouth and acouple of unpleasant scenes where the innocent lead characters areaccused of things they didn't do and suffer because of it.

This really isn't an action movie, but much more of a drama and it'sexcellent storytelling. It also has narration from Damon, who is goodat that sort of thing. It's just a powerful movie with a lot of goodthings to offer. If you like good stories, don't pass this up.

6/10 / 10

Director Billy Bob Thornton fills the screen with awesome scenery and a hardhitting drama about two young cowboys from San Angelo, Texas meeting up withanother young horseman and coming face to face with life altering situationsin and out of a Mexican prison. Friendship stays strong to the bitter end.And love proves to be stronger than life itself. Matt Damon, Henry Thomasand Lucas Black are the hard luck cowpokes. Damon falls in love withPenelope Cruz and provides some steamy love scenes. There is more drama thanaction in this western, but you should find it very entertaining. Damon andBlack are the most impressive characters in this well-mademovie.

6/10 / 10

I really wanted to love this film and from the opening scenes to the lastthird I really did like this film. I love surreal films as much as the nextguy, but this film seems like it was made by Oliver Stone on Valium. Thefilm is really slow, now that can be a good thing, but in this case the pacejust keeps getting slower and slower. I heard that Thornton's original cutran almost four hours, it seems that the film has a whole other film missingfrom it. I didn't read the novel and I'm guessing that I should have readthe novel because I couldn't figure this film out for the life of me. Whenit was all over I felt empty. The performances are all great, I especiallyliked Lucas Black in the role of Blevins. Matt Damon and Henry Thomas areboth very good in their roles and this is first movie Penelope Cruz hasappeared in where I could see that she has real talent and isn't justanother pretty face. I loved the cinematography, the outdoor landscapes werebeautiful. The film has all the flavor and no real substance. I am torn withthis film, I wanted to love it so bad. Even great film makers slip every nowand then.