It’s long been rumored that Butch Cassidy survived the battle with the Bolivian Army in which he was said to have been killed and in director Mateo Gil’s new film Blackthorn Sam Shepard stars as Cassidy in his last act as he contemplates his past and embarks for one last adventure. The film bears little resemblance to George Roy Hill’s hit buddy comedy Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, in fact if Hill’s film was the early Beatles Mateo Gil’s film might be Bob Dylan right before he plugged in.
The film has a weight to it that is palpable and Sam Shepard is perfect as the grizzled, contemplative Butch Cassidy in the final chapter of his life. The storyline picks up well after the shootout that is thought to have killed Cassidy and fills in holes with flashbacks as he precedes to attempt to leave his love Yana, played by Magaly Solier and return to America before he is sidelined by another robber of sorts played wonderfully by Gil regular Eduardo Noriega. The real strength of the film is in Shepard’s ability to balance out the old grizzled cowboy and the smart, loving man with a heart as he walks a thin line between hero and villain in the film. If you liked True Grit this is a must see and it’s certainly a strong English language premiere for Gil with a role which should once again make Shepard a commodity in Hollywood.
Blackthorn opens in theathers tomorrow October 7.