Jeff Arnold’s West

The blog of a Western fan, for other Western fans

Shadowheart (Video, 2009)

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Skip it

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From the slushy title onwards, this film is not worth the valuable time of a Western lover. I’d skip it if I were you.

 

The claim on the DVD box that it is “The best Western since Tombstone” isn’t just cheeky, it’s impertinent. And way wrong. Are they seriously suggesting that this cheesy picture is better than, say, Open Range
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Please don’t buy it

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Whatever were the producers thinking, financing a Western as sloppy as this in the 21st century?

 

It caters to the lowest and worst of American thinking, and harks back to the worst of the Western. Personal revenge with a firearm is perfectly acceptable. You just make the villain horrible enough and then it’s alright, indeed, it’s admirable for the ‘hero’ (or someone else on the hero’s behalf, that’s a good cop out) to shoot bullets into him.

 

The production values are abysmal. Everyone is clearly wearing costume; no one looks even remotely convincing in the clothes. The actors have glowing skin and teeth bright enough to illuminate Los Angeles for a year.  The diction of most of them is early 2000s Californian youth-speak. The acting is second-class at its best and occasionally laughably bad.
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Bad actors wearing costumes

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The writing is probably the worst part. It is ‘credited’ to Dean Alioto, the director, and two accomplices, Peter Vanderwall and Brad Goodman. It is trite, clichéd, anachronisitc, clumsy and boring. No cast could make these lines sound convincing or even interesting. The actors employed certainly couldn’t.

 

The film can’t really decide whether to be a sickly-sweet sentimental love story gone tragically wrong or a traditional revenge drama that we’ve seen a thousand times (bad man kills hero’s daddy so hero grows up and gets his revenge, yawn). So it decides to try both at the same time. And fails.

 

The direction is sluggish to the point of catalepsy. Was the director even present on the set?

 

I can’t think of a single thing good about this film. Photography, sets, music? Nope. The music is especially bad. The ending? Pathetic New Agey goo.
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Any Western since Tombstone is better than this.
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