.

All the Pretty Horses

Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz

Directed by Billy Bob Thornton
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 20, 2000

All the Pretty Horses comes with a fancy pedigree: a Cormac McCarthy novel about adolescent Texas cowboys, circa 1949, that deservedly won the National Book Award eight years ago. Director Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade) and screenwriter Ted Tally (The Silence of the Lambs) approach the material with respect, but only Barry Markowitz's luminous camerawork does justice to the descriptive majesty of McCarthy's prose. Although the actors work hard, the haunted soul of the book resists capture onscreen. At thirty, Matt Damon seems a bit mature to play John Grady Cole, the teenager who rides off to Mexico with his pal Lacey Rawlins (Henry Thomas) in search of adventure. After meeting outlaw kid Jimmy Blevins (Lucas Black, in the film's liveliest and best performance), John and Lacey find work breaking horses on a hacienda run by Rocha (Ruben Blades), a wealthy man whose daughter, Alejandra (Penelope Cruz), is tempestuous — aren't they all? — and doomed to fall for John. It doesn't help that Damon and Cruz fail to generate sparks or that the second half of the film, in which John and Lacey face hell in a Mexican prison, feels bluntly edited to fit a two-hour running time. Thornton and Tally clearly ache to give the film a mythic resonance, but their movie sounds hollow where the book rang true.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Santa Monica”

    Everclear | 1996

    After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com