Hidalgo Joe Johnston

Hidalgo Joe Johnston
Hidalgo is a story that is surrounded in mystery and half-truths. Based on the life of famed long distance rider Frank T. Hopkins, Hidalgo takes place in1890. Formerly a dispatch rider for the U.S. cavalry, Hopkins has fallen into a semblance of life built on alcohol and self-pity that begs to be cut short before the movie truly begins. His horse is the only one who has any sense, as Hidalgo knows what Hopkins needs: a challenge to keep on living. That challenge comes in the form of an invitation to participate in a race across the Arabian Desert. Known as the Ocean of Fire, this 3,000-mile long race is a challenge restricted to the finest Arabian horses. Only the purest and noblest of their kind, owned by the greatest royal families, are allowed the honour of participating. Just exactly who these royal families are isn't established in the movie, but that is the least of the plot holes that exist in this film. Because he is the first and only American rider, Hopkins is obviously viewed as an outsider. As well, the fact that his horse is a mustang and not of pure Arabian blood makes them both objects of scorn. In order to smooth things over, he breaks the rules and rescues a rider who has fallen into a bubbling mud pit. For some reason though, Hopkins isn't punished, even though he has been told by the Sheikh of Sheikhs that interference with another rider is forbidden. This movie is utterly unbelievable, as once again Americans are portrayed as the good guys in a country they don't govern. The fact that Hopkins is invited to participate in a race that no outsider has ever been allowed to compete in and just walks away with the purse is laughable. It is apparent at the beginning that there are no insurmountable odds to overcome; he just needs to show up and save the Sheikh's daughter and win. What a disappointing way for Viggo Mortensen to follow up The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. (Buena Vista)