Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Omar Sharif, Zuleikha Robinson
Length: 136 min.
IMDB Summary: In 1890, a down-and-out cowboy and his horse travel to Arabia compete in a deadly cross desert horse race.
This film was a bit disjointed and superficial for my taste, despite the true story behind it. While Mortensen gave a decent performance at intervals, he often came across as whiny (reminiscent of Owen Wilson's character in Night at the Museum) or breathy (reminiscent of Mortensen's role in The Lord of the Rings). He relied on shouts and glares to portray masculinity, though his horsemanship undoubtedly shone throughout the film. What really irritated me was the underdeveloped character arc concerning his Native American heritage. We see his ethnic struggle in the opening Buffalo Bill scenes, only for this battle to disappear until the end of the film, when he is suddenly struck by a vision of his ancestors. There is so much that Johnston could have done with this character arc that he instead casts aside for cowboy talk, gun-slinging and action sequences. The character's individuality sinks below the surface and all we see is a gun-toting cowboy racing for no substantial reason through three-thousand miles of desert.
Also, except for Sharif's character, I found the portrayal of the Arabs canned and ho-hum. It wasn't racist or offensive--it was just boring as heck. There's the greedy one, the pompous one, the groveling one...need I continue. Oh, and the damsel in distress who does not wish to marry a man she does not love. Watching Mortensen ride off into the sunset with her was almost too much. Despite some exciting action sequences and one irresistibly charming horse, Hidalgo takes itself far too seriously for an action flick and should be considered entertainment only.
Action violence and mild innuendo
Image from imdb.com