> Volume 6 > Number 11


Joe Johnston

Viggo Mortensen
Zuleikha Robinson
Omar Sharif
Louise Lombard
SaÔd Taghmaoui

Release: 5 Mar. 04



Viggo Mortensen, suddenly recognized as a star thanks to his pitiful performance in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, now gets to show he can headline a film. Thatís not asking much, though, when the tide of Seabiscuit fans are willing to see anything has four legs, runs fast, and will likely turn up in a glue factory.

Posing Mortensenís Frank T. Hopkins as a cowboy variation on the same tired character played by Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai, this drinking, rough Civil War veteran has depth built into him by know misery at the hands of his government. This time itís the massacre of Native Americans, which he wears on his shoulders like a calling card for tortured hero of the year status. Mortensen hasnít the chops to really portray any of this, but he does have the rugged look, which helps the film attain some levels of success when it just looks at the pan-Arabian horserace Hopkins is competing in. The thrill of the great race isnít lost on the audience, even if the occasional diversions for romantic subplots and imperialist double-dealing come as drags on the whole film.

Inspired by a true story, Hidalgo has the potential to pull off greatness without turning into a meandering plot of cultural understanding and natural living. The horse lovers will embrace it in droves, The Lord of the Rings fans will drool over Viggo, and everyone else will just wait for the end credits to finally arrive

©2004, David Perry,, 12 March 2004