A.O. Scott, NY
"'All the Pretty Horses'
looks like a real old-fashioned western and tries to
revive sturdy horse-opera themes of love, friendship and
righteous violence. But in spite of some thoughtful
performances and a handsome sense of scale, the picture
is, for the most part, as slick and superficial as a
Marlboro advertisement on the back of a glossy magazine."
Rob Blackwelder, Spliced Wire:
"In directing 'All the Pretty Horses,' a romantic homage
to the great American cowboy epic, Billy Bob Thornton
adheres honorably to the code of the Western and emerges
with a familiar and satisfying - if not entirely
memorable - eulogy to a lifestyle that rode off into the
sunset some time last century."
"Although the actors work hard, the haunted soul of the
book resists capture onscreen... Thornton and Tally
clearly ache to give the film a mythic resonance, but
their movie sounds hollow where the book rang true."
"Reportedly having delivered a four-hour cut Thornton
struggled for over a year to trim his epic Western and
appease his distributor Miramax. The result clocking in
at about two hours feels like the Cliff’s Notes version
of McCormack’s book."
"Despite the film's attractive, talented cast and
some of the most gorgeous cinematography and scenery
seen on film this year, there's at least a faint odor of
disappointment about this somewhat superficial Western."
Betty Jo Tucker, Real Talk Reviews:
"In spite of its deadening pace, 'All the Pretty Horses'
offers beautiful landscape shots of the Southwest.
Cinematographer Barry Markovitz captures the
awesome nature of wide-open spaces and immense, colorful
skies. In addition, his dream sequence photography,
especially of wild horses running free, emerges as pure
Edward Guthmann, SF Chronicle:
"'All the Pretty Horses' is slow and languid, sometimes
to the point of passivity, and is disappointing in the
muddiness of certain plot points. It's a visual feast,
though, and a chance to see Damon, an actor whose
talents are frequently obscured by his looks and his
celebrity, deliver his best work."
"Not a disaster as rumored to be, just a disappointing
adaptation of a great novel. Thornton fails to dramatize
in visually or dramatically satisfying ways the hero's
odyssey from innocence to experience, from childish game
to acting with honor."
"It's wonderfully edited, and cinematographer Barry
Markowitz's images of those noble, wild, restless horses
are exquisite. But like those seething, tethered
creatures, this movie is too corralled to gallop across
the open prairie of our fancy."
Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall:
"A big, stunningly gorgeous film based on Cormac
McCarthy's beloved bestseller, this film was shamefully
ignored by the Oscars. Even if there are problems with
the story, it's still so beautifully made - editing,
costumes, music, sound and especially Barry Markowitz's
cinematography - that it deserved much more
Ron Wells, Film
"The result of what would appear to be a great deal of
effort and some horribly misguided conviction is an
extremely slow-moving train wreck."
"While it is clearly Damon, Thomas, and Black's show,
Thornton doesn't skimp on the character actors, giving
bit parts to Sam Shepard, Ruben Blades, Robert Patrick,
and Bruce Dern, that while small in screen time are no
Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin
"'All the Pretty Horses' is a more-than-decent horse
opera with some good performances and
better-than-average dialogue and themes transferred
directly from the novel by screenwriter Ted Tally."