This film builds on the legend that the infamous outlaw Butch Cassidy didn’t die in the Bolivian army ambush in 1908, as depicted in George Roy Hill’s 1969 classic BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID - he lived into his old age as a rancher in the mountains of Bolivia, going by the name James Blackthorn.
Mateo Gil, working from a screenplay by Miquel Barros, gives the great grizzled Sam Shepard in the title role, getting caught up, on his way back to the states, in one last adventure involving a young Spanish thief (Eduardo Noriega) who has a posse after him because he stole $50,000.
Stephen Rea has a stand-out part as a broken down Irish lawman who suspects Cassidy is still alive. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Pádraic Delaney play the young Butch and Sundance in flashbacks that aren’t really necessary, but don’t distract too much from the grand old man Western here.
A suitably winding plot, Juan Ruiz Anchía’s stunning cinematography of the Bolivian landscape, and a powerful performance by Shephard make this recommendable, even if it is a bit slow going at times.
However, slow doesn’t necessarily equal boredom as some excellent modern Westerns – like THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD and MEEK'S CUTOFF – have shown. These fine films, BLACKTHORN included, well know that the wide terrain of the Old West should'nt be rushed through.
Special Features: Deleted Scenes, “Making of BLACKTHORN”, Short Films by Director Mateo Gil, HDNet: A Look at BLACKTHORN.