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Article

Wild Bill

Posted on

Wild Bill

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
performer:
Ellen Barkin, Jeff Bridges
director:
Walter Hill
genre:
Drama, Western

We gave it a B-

Tired yet perennially tested, chased by the past, James Butler ”Wild Bill” Hickok is as haunted as the Western genre itself. And he’s brought growlingly to life by Jeff Bridges, who saves Wild Bill from simple dead-horse beating. This elegiac character study finds the famous gunslinger wrestling with a restless spirit, impending blindness, and a rekindled romance with Calamity Jane (the underutilized Ellen Barkin). Director Walter Hill (48 HRS.) saddles his epic with two-bit execution, but the claustrophobic saloons and chintzy crowd scenes look fine on video. Still, while Hill’s hallucinatory script — adapted from a novel and a play — is about the dangers of fostering your own myth, the movie fawns over its character’s legend rather than aiming for his murky reality. B-

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