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Virgil Cole (Eric Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) come to Apaloosa, a small town out in the wild wild west that is threatened by the thugs around Randall Bragg (Jemery Irons). After Bragg had killed the former city Marshall, all authority is given to Cole, and he actually manages with wit and ruthlesness to keep things at bay and put trouble behind bars. But things are in towns like that: women, more thugs, more mercenaries create more trouble, and in the end it is up to Hitch to clear things up and relaese everybody into their own destiny.

How often do you get Eric Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons on one screen. Plus Rene Zellwegger if you like that kind of amusement? Not too often. And here it comes with that very special sense for each actor’s strnegths, which happens to be similar for all three leads: a controlled calm, a touch of cruel, the ability to be uncompromising. And the stench of self-mockery hanging over their heads, allowing them frequently to fall for the nymphomaniac piano player, or to desperatly struggle for words like a kid in a spelling competition. Especially Ed Harris sits in the middle of all this like a rock with a smiley painted on his side, and the twittering and flirting girlfiend Ms French.

The movie moves along calmly, and even the more Western elements like the stand-off or the train robbery are conducted with a blunt realism that is very refreshing. These guys do not move towards a show-down, but towards the necessity to make some decisions about their lives. The finale is intelligent in this, three people being set free with only one shot.

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