Tuesday, December 20, 2011


We all know that in 1908, alongside the Sundance Kid, Butch Cassidy died in Bolivia in 1908. But what if that isn't the case? Several people believe Cassidy survived Bolivia and there are several accounts of his movements decades later.

Blackthorn centers around an elderly Butch Cassidy who has been hiding in Boliva for decades as a horse trader named James Blackthorn (Sam Shepard). As the movie opens Blackthorn has decided to return to the U.S. but an expected encounter with a thief (Eduardo Noriega) in possession of $50,000 puts Cassidy on the path for one final adventure.

The script by Miguel Barros is passable, but nothing special, relying on late twists and old adversaries to spice up a story without much to say. Blackthorn isn't a bad film, but it's far too close in themes and story to the immensely superior Unforgiven.

Shepard is well-cast in the role as the grizzled gunslinger, and his tale works well-enough, but the best moments of the film (aside from a brutal chase through the desert) almost all occur in flashbacks featuring a younger Butch (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Sundance (Padraic Delaney), and Etta Place (Dominique McElligott) staying one step ahead of Mackinley (Stephen Rea) and the Pinkertons.

Both the Blu-ray and DVD include deleted scenes, a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes on the making of the film, the trailer, and a collection of short films by director Mateo Gil.

[Magnolia, Blu-ray $29.98, DVD $26.98]

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