Blackthorn 2011 ★★★★

This review reportedly contains spoilers.
I can handle the truth.

This review reportedly contains spoilers.

As most of us probably know, famous train/bank robbers Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid were killed in a standoff with the Bolivian army in 1908. Or did they? Fast foward to 1927 where a much older Cassidy, now going by the name of James Blackthorn (Sam Shepard) is living peacefully in a Bolivian village. He plans to flee back to the his family in the US until those plans are sidetracked after meeting a young Spaniard (Eduardo Noriego).

I'm going to say from the start that you have to watch Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid beforehand before watching this. Having just seeing that excellent classic not to long ago (a few hours ago actually) I really liked this film. Sam Shepard is terrific as an older Cassidy. He inhabits the character to perfection and I see a lot of Newman's interpretation in Shepard. Eduardo Noriega is great as well. They have good chemistry. However I only have one complaint with this film, but sadly it's a major one. I did'nt buy Shepard's and Noriega's friendship. It was'nt any of the actor's fault nor was there any problem with the script. I just did'nt feel that bond that was so important in Cassidy & Sundance. I'm not saying Noriega is a Sundance or even a Redford, but the bond between Newman & Redford was perfect and enigmatic so I guess I was sorta disappointed Shepard & Noriega come no where close. Like I said, as charismatic of an actor Noriega is, he's no Redford, but Stephen Rea sure as hell is. Rea is just fantastic as an older Sundance. As much as I completely believe Newman's Cassidy grew up to be Shepard's, I completely believed Redford's Sundance grew into Rea. With the few scene's they have together, Rea and Shepard have perfect chemistry that echoed that of Redford and Newman.

The direction is amazing. The cinematography looks magnificent. Bolivia as a whole looks magnificent. Gritty and bleak to the bone, Bolivia still manages to look beautiful. The script is smart, surprising, and well executed. Simply fascinating film.

All in all, this may not be Butch & Sundance, but this definitely ain't bad. Really great unofficial sequel.

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