Notice how the winter movie season is shaping up as a multimillion-dollar version of the "boys' adventure" shelf at your local library? Following on the heels of "Master and Commander," filmmaker Ron Howard contributes a fairly ordinary Western, in which a frontier doctor (Cate Blanchett) fights to rescue her kidnapped daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) from a bunch of renegade Apache scouts. To do so, she has to accept the assistance of her hated father (Tommy Lee Jones), who turned his back on the family years earlier to start life anew among the Native Americans. Every time the movie starts to say something interesting about the complex relationship between the white man and the Indian, it retreats into genre clichés. Ever seen a couple of furiously wrasslin' combatants reaching for a gun that lies just beyond their grasp? Want to see it again? Credit director of photography Salvatore Totino for making it all look far more substantial than the TNT original it is. Jones does his usual deadpan schtick, getting off the movie's best zinger when he describes Florida as "a real swell shithole of a swamp" Yeah, that about covers it.
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