Blackthorn

Blackthorn

(2011)

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. Stars Sam Shepard as the elderly outlaw.... More

"Cassidy (Shepard) survived and is quietly living out his years under the name James Blackthorn in a secluded Bolivian village. Tired of his long exile from the U.S. and hoping to see his family again before he dies, Cassidy sets out on the long journey home. But when an unexpected encounter with an ambitious young criminal (Eduardo Noriega) derails his plans, he is thrust into one last adventure, the likes of which he hasn’t experienced since his glory days with the Sundance Kid." (Official Synopsis)Hide

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Flicks Review

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.... More

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.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 2 ratings, 2 reviews
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BY Sappy grader

I wend to see this movie with my husband at Rialto Cinemas last night and we both really enjoyed it. It was exactly as a western should be and the Butch Cassidy story is always an exciting and interesting one. Also the movie made me want to visit Bolivia as it looked beautiful in the movie


BY KeefScorsese superstar

With a title like Blackthorn, I was willing to give this a chance thanks to good old fashion allure of the western genre.

However with Blackthorn, somewhat of a sequel of sorts to the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, making comparisons was inevitable even just by viewing the trailer.

The 1969 film where Butch Cassidy was portrayed by Paul Newman, proved to likeable, shrewd and ruthless when he needed to be. Sam Shepard's Cassidy, who has assumed the name James Blackthorn is no... More different. Unfortunately, Sherpard proves to the be film's only highlight other than the beautiful cinematography of Bolivian landscapes.

The film features hallmarks of a western - a stoic lead, no fuss shoot outs and a sidekick to the protagonist (in this case a Spaniard where the partnership between the protagonist and sidekick sadly falls short of a likeable one), yet there is no emotional investment offered, a staple trait of the revisionist western.

The film suffers from its own narrative structure where poor flashbacks of Cassidy's past do not serve any purpose to the story which is stifled by a slow burn pace.

Unlike the revisionist westerns such as Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch and Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, there is something amiss with Blackthrorn. As mentioned before, the hallmarks are here but maybe with a more deft directorial touch by Mateo Gil, this movie could have been something.Hide


The Press Reviews

  • The story’s beats are modern, but the setting, visuals, pacing, and protagonist all capture classic past cinema, if not classic past innocence. Full Review

  • The movie as a whole isn't much. Flashbacks to the good old days, with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Padraic Delaney standing in for Paul Newman and Robert Redford, are unconvincing and without much purpose, and given the moral twistiness of the original story, this rehash seems to lack purpose. Full Review

  • Sam Shepard illuminates the old West - or at least the South American parts - with creaky charisma. Full Review

  • The filmmakers rely on Mr. Shepard to lend the character some of his mythic weight, but it would take an actor with greater range to make Butch more than a cardboard outlaw-saint. Full Review

  • Gil's alternative history gets one thing bang-on right: If Butch were to live into his senior days, he'd absolutely have to be played by Shepard. Full Review

  • Widescreen lensing by vet cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchia, far from "westernizing" Bolivia, almost turns it into another planet, lending it an unearthly beauty all its own. Full Review

  • Blackthorn feels less like a proper sequel to "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," which it purports to be, than a coattail rider. Full Review

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