(PG-13) - February 20


    PLOT IN A NUTSHELL: A disillusioned cowboy attempts to find himself during a 3,000 mile horse race.

REVIEW: Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen), a long distance horse racing champion during the 1880's, slips into a deep depression after witnessing the slaughter of American Indians at Wounded Knee. Frank tries to drown his sorrow in alcohol until a challenge from an Arabian sheik (Omar Sharif) brings him to the Middle-East for an endurance horse race. Frank and his horse, Hidalgo, battle the elements, fellow riders, greedy Arabs and ultimately their own doubts.

Director Joe Johnston very loosely based this film on the life of champion horse rider, Frank Hopkins. He attempts, with this film, to bring back the adventure stories of old... with somewhat mixed results. The movie looks extremely good, but seems a little drawn out. This movie might have benefitted from a more charismatic leading actor... not that Viggo Mortensen did a bad job, just he lacks the screen presence for this role. He worked well in the ensemble cast of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but carrying an entire film seems a stretch for him. Ultimately Hidalgo is an enjoyable film that could been better with a little trimming.

BOTTOMLINE: An old-fashioned adventure story that slightly misses the mark.