Hidalgo Reviews

© Touchstone / Buena Vista Pictures.
It's not as if we haven't seen movies like "Hidalgo" before - the cowboy, the horse, the hat - and yet there's something fresh about it all the same. Part of it comes from Viggo Mortensen, an actor who has the measured pace and steady gaze of a Cooper or a Stewart. - Mick LaSalle, Chronicle

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Hidalgo Reviews

"Hidalgo" is the kind of movie Hollywood has almost become too jaundiced to make anymore. Bold, exuberant and swashbuckling, it has the purity and simplicity of something Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn might have bounded through. Modern movies that attempt the adventure genre usually feel they have to tart it up, so in "Pirates of the Caribbean," which once would have been played straight, we get animated cadavers and Johnny Depp channeling Keith Richards. Well, OK, "Pirates" was fun, but "Hidalgo" is a throwback to a more innocent time when heroes and their horses risked everything just because life was so damned boring in the slow lane.

Roger Ebert
March 5 2004

Viggo Mortensen is not about the words. He's about being... present. .......
......Mortensen's an actor I'm content just to watch: Those riven cheeks, taut against blade-sharp cheekbones, features that gift golden hour. He quietly inhabits the role of Frank Hopkin....

Ray Pride
Movie City News
Review Date: March 4, 2004

There is a genre knowingness to a claim like "God didn't make all men equal, Mr. Colt did," but I have to love a movie that lets someone say, "Easy, boys, it's a long way to Damascus." This is not the tin-eared grit of the misbegotten The Missing. Marvel at how Mortensen can all but whisper his lines: "Ain't no money worth a man's life, the way I see it"; "Nobody hurts my horse." He plays tired real good. Idealism resonates all the way through.

Ray Pride
Movie City News
Review Date: March 4, 2004

...Mortensen's the kind of actor-turned-star who allows himself to be shot in shadow and mottle and shade, a palette of light that often obscures his features as much as illuminates them.

Ray Pride
Movie City News
Review Date: March 4, 2004

Of course, Hidalgo is just a film, and as sheer popcorn-munching fun, it's an often-rousing action-adventure that confirms Mortensen as a star. When the movie stumbles, it's not his fault.
Not that Hidalgo gives him anything as meaty as his career-defining work in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But instead of overcompensating, Mortensen wisely underplays, easing into the role of the laconic cowboy with low-key dignity. Between action scenes, which he handles quite well (you expected less after Rings?), it's a performance of charming understatement.

Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
May 14, 2004

Viggo Mortensen -- who demonstrated his horsemanship in "The Lord of the Rings" movies -- plays Hopkins, and his performance is crucial. The character is a quiet, introspective man who has spent his life suppressing his emotions. And they are painful emotions, indeed. Mortensen does an exquisite job of revealing just enough of the bottled-up angst to make us aware of the internal turmoil his character battles.

'Hidalgo' races home with upbeat message
Jeff Strickler
Star Tribune, March 5, 2004

The movie does show that Mortensen, hot off the success of The Lord of the Rings, can carry a picture on his own. His swagger and earthy good looks serve him well. The film itself is a throwback, an entertaining western adventure that radiates simplicity. Here, relationships are straightforward and curt, honor is a noble virtue, and romanticism is alive and well. The depiction of this is what makes the film appealing, exuding a certain naturalness and feeling of purity.

Mark Sells
CineScene.com, 2004

Viggo Mortensen nails the archetypal cowboy. He doesn't have the greatest range but he gets better as the movie progresses. As one woman at a preview screening said to her girlfriend looking up at the big screen: 'What's not to like about a forty-foot tall Viggo Mortensen?'

Cowboy and Mustang Meet Arabian Nights
John P. McCarthy
reeltalkreviews.com 2004

Mortensen, who became a hunky heartthrob as the warrior Aragorn in the "Lord of the Rings" series, carries himself like Gary Cooper here, radiating earthy charm and easy humor, as well as a quiet determination.

James Sanford
Kalamazoo Gazette 2004

When it comes to playing disillusioned veterans of anti-Indian atrocities, it's Viggo Mortensen over Tom Cruise by a nose.

Hot to Trot
Steve Schneider
Orlando Weekly

It takes a thoroughbred star like Mortensen to make the bond between man and horses believable, and to keep Hidalgo from straying too far into fields of corn.

From hobbits to horses
Jennie Punter
The Globe and Mail, 5 March 2004

Can Viggo Mortensen carry a movie as well as his trusty steed Hidalgo carries him on a race across the desert? You betcha, partner......With his standout turn as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mortensen achieved heartthrob status, but the big question everyone's asking about Hidalgo is whether or not he can carry a movie on his own. The answer is a resounding yes. When there's action to be had, Mortensen looks like a real pro. He's got the cowboy drawl down pat; shoots a Colt .45 with confidence; delivers sharp one-liners like a kinder, gentler Clint Eastwood; and has a great seat on a horse. Even when the movie gets a little slow--and it does, a 3000-mile desert race will do that to a movie--Mortensen's onscreen appeal saves the day.

Leigh Johnson

It's not as if we haven't seen movies like "Hidalgo" before -- the cowboy, the horse, the hat -- and yet there's something fresh about it all the same. Part of it comes from Viggo Mortensen, an actor who has the measured pace and steady gaze of a Cooper or a Stewart.

Wild West to wild Mideast
Mortensen saddles up as former cowboy racing across desert
Mick LaSalle
Chronicle, 5 March 2004

Mortensen gives Frank, who it is later revealed is half Indian, a quiet reserve and dignity that works well in playing the reluctant hero.

Kirk Honeycutt
The Hollywood Reporter, March 01, 2004

Holding the reins on everything is Mortensen, fresh from appearing in 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy and trying to prove he has life beyond Middle Earth. It's a smart role for him, in that he gets to show the sense of humor that was nowhere evident in 'Rings,' while also leaning on the moral strength and action persona that made his name.
In truth, Mortensen can act rings around this kind of role (check out 'The Indian Runner'); but as with 'Rings,' he plays the part rather than showing off. Indy, watch your back.

'Hidalgo' gallops away with rollicking adventure
Tom Long
Detroit News, 5 March 2004

Mortensen proves once again that he's an able, even intuitive performer, more compelling speaking Lakota Sioux than many others in plain English.

Sara Brady
Premier.com, 3 March 2004

While the film can waver from itself, Mortensen is steadfast like a throw back to the old school smoldering actors that paraded about the prairies, years ago; sexy and very iconic American cowboy.

Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review
Last edited: 16 February 2010 11:09:52