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REVIEW: 'Blackthorn'

REVIEW: 'Blackthorn'

REVIEW: 'Blackthorn', Flicks.co.nz

2 stars

Western that presupposes Butch Cassidy didn't die at the hands of the Bolivian military alongside the Sundance Kid and lived until old age where a final adventure awaits. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times.

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Joining Anonymous and Inglourious Basterds in the yeah-nah of historical fiction is this disappointingly tame snapshot into Butch Cassidy’s hypothetical older years. Blackthorn could have been a badass character piece of True Grit proportions. Instead, it’s nothing more than a passable Western that makes you long for something memorable.

The first half drags its feet trying to develop Butch’s relationship with his underwritten Spaniard sidekick. The partnership leaves a lot to be desired, with the pair never building a convincing camaraderie. Despite some nifty action set pieces and a gut-punching plot-turn later on, the film fails to recover from that set-back. The fault cannot be placed on Sam Shepard, whose brilliant portrayal of the aged bandit finds the balance between shrewdness and ruthlessness.

Flashbacks are littered throughout, though they serve little purpose and don’t affect the overall storyline. It’s as if the filmmakers needed to extend the movie’s length, choosing to awkwardly shoehorn a crash-course on Butch Cassidy.

One is left feeling annoyed that the drop-dead gorgeous cinematography and Shepard’s excellent performance are dumped on a sluggishly paced Western that’s not nearly as interesting as it should be.

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