DVD Review: Appaloosa

appaloosa-dvdI really, really like Appaloosa and even began, shortly after watching it, that it might be my second favorite modern Western, behind only Unforgiven.

Appaloosa is the story of two lawmen-for-hire, played by Ed Harris (who also directed) and Viggo Mortenson. The pair come to the small town of Appaloosa to help the locals with the problems they’re having with a local powerful rancher, played by the fantastic Jeremy Irons. One complication after another comes into the story (including a few that involve a woman who moves to town shortly after them and who’s played by Renee Zellweger) but the two come through as partners despite being the only morally clear people in the entire story.

What I dug about Appaloosa was the stoic attitudes displayed by the two stars. While everyone is getting all emotional around them these two lawmen just shrug and move along, never betraying any emotion they don’t need to and meeting every challenge with a quiet certainty. The performances by these two are simply pitch-perfect without being showy or anything like that. Even Irons doesn’t go over the edge in his role as the “villain” of the film, a role that he easily could have hammed up.

The single-disc edition of the movie comes with a handful of bonus features, including a batch of deleted scenes that you can view with or without commentary by director and star Ed Harris and screenwriter/producer Robert Knott. Both Knott and Harris also provide commentary on the feature film itself. The disc also has a few featurettes that dive into the production of the film and the recreation of the titular town.