Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wild Bill

Wild Bill is one wild movie.

This movie stars Jeff Bridges in what I call a stellar performance. Once I saw the film I couldn't imagine anyone else playing this legendary figure from our American West!

This movie covers all of the basics of Wild Bill's later life including his death at the end of Jack McCall's smoking pistol along with several flash backs to his younger days. There are many moments of historical accuracy where Hollywood did a certain amount of research, however there is plenty of embellishment as well.

Do not watch this movie expecting the truth. It is a "Hollywood Bio" sprinkeld with some truths.

That being said, Jeff Bridges is Wild Bill Hickock. he looks like the embodiment of those old tintypes we have seen of James Butler Hickock flamboyantly dressed in his wide brimmed hat and pistols tucked into the sash tied around his waist.

"Wild Bill" focuses on Hickock as he lives out his final days in the muddy, mining town of Deadwood with the knowledge that he is a legend in his own time. Here we see his volatile relationship with Calamity Jane as well as his addiction to opium. He tries to hide the fact that he is going blind from syphilis and defend his legendary reputation from all challengers.

There are several legendary shootouts recreated in this movie, but it is the more subtle imagery and events which make this movie great. For Instance : A standout scene in the movie occurs when Wild Bill receives a premonition from an angry Indian when he and his hunting party are caught killing buffalo. Jeff Bridges as Wild Bill expertly utilizes a sign language to communicate with the Indian which is, according to the history books, a very accurate depiction of communication between plains Indians and trappers etc... Jeff Bridges makes you believe this is 2nd nature for him.

In the end, just as is told in the history books, he does meet his fate at the cowardly hands of Jack McCall, played by the ever annoying David Arquette.

I recommend you view this film with an open mind especially if you are familiar with the true story. This is about a man walking down a dark path at the end of which he will face his own legend head on.