Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of finishing post and releasing my 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.
Week 125: The Alamo (2004)
This month I’m focused on films that touch on the history of the Alamo whether about the battle itself or the aftermath. I’d never seen John Lee Hancock’s 2004 film but since it came out, I’ve become a big fan of the filmmaker’s recent work and that was even more incentive to finally see it.
The film is definitely a mixed bag. On one hand, there are great elements like the effort to be more accurate. I like that they showed the battle taking place in the dark. I like that they addressed how cold it was. I also enjoyed the way they explored some lesser known theories about the battle. But there are also some parts that fall completely flat, especially in the cast. Jason Patrick’s performance as Jim Bowie just does not work for me. It’s too method and also too reminiscent of Kilmer and Quaid’s Doc Holliday performances. Speaking of Quaid, he surprisingly fails to bring Houston to life. It’s forced and lacks the charisma the actor normally brings to his roles.
Billy Bob Thornton, on the other hand, does an incredible job as Davy Crockett. He grounds the legend and gives us a much more realistic portrayal than I’ve seen before. He is the highlight of this film.
Not perfect by any means, this film still did not deserve to “bomb” and has a lot of merit. For me, the definitive film about this history has still not been made.
Watched on Amazon Prime