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The unexpected beauty of Cowboys and Aliens

The mister and I rented the movie Cowboys and Aliens on Sunday, mostly because we wanted to see how the writers would reconcile two such disparate entities, and because, as I explained to the mister, any movie with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford can’t be all bad.

And it wasn’t.  It wasn’t bad at all.  In fact, it was a most enjoyable romp through the quirkiest fantasy this side of the Pecos, or Rigel 7, as the case may be.  This movie stood out not just because of the solid performances of the leads – there’s one scene where their simple exchanged glance becomes funny and articulate dialogue –

Ford:  What the hell are you doing?

Craig:  Haven’t the foggiest.  Just play along, OK?

– but also because of the artistic camera work.  Near the beginning of the movie, Craig is at the bar and he raises his head in a gesture that says he knows the sheriff and his gang are coming to get him any minute now.  “Step away,” he whispers to the woman standing beside him.  She does and then he puts down his drink.  The camera moves in tight on the shot glass and holds our attention there, makes us focus all our attention on the tiny sound it makes as it touches the bar.  A clean, spare, deliberate gesture of such powerful intensity I caught my breath and had the mister replay it for me.  Those few frames right there – well worth the price of the rental.  Add to that the simple joy of watching the characters come together, learn something, and change throughout the movie and I was willing to overlook what was for me a rather high rating on my violence-o-meter.

Might want to check it out.

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