Hidalgo (2004) Review

I am scared, petrified, run in the opposite direction, look the other way and not look back kind guy when it comes to horses. I do not know why I went back to this movie.

The movie is introduced to you with a simple race, showing the speed and power of the main character and his horse. The story is about Frank Hopkins and our titular character, his horse Hidalgo.


The plot of the movie is introduced immediately as you are shown a camp of native Americans being attacked. Frank, being of native decent is heart broken and doesn’t race any more. Until he is greeted by a strange man to race in the distant land of brown sand, the Arabian Desert.


The story has been debated for years, weather it is fact or fiction, but putting that aside the story is full of adventure and exciting twists.

Fank, played by Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings), shows his love for the world, nature, animals, and others well being by showing simple respect. Viggo plays the character incredibly well as his demeanour is calm and smooth. The casting was well decided as each character shows their strengths and weaknesses well with the actors and actresses that play them. 6986_4_screenshot

The transitions between each scene, such as from sitting in the blistering sun to racing in an intense face off between riders, we incredibly smooth. I feel for this, I should give thanks to both the cinematography, and the setting in which the story takes place. When I watch a movie, the camera work is the first thing I think about when judging the movie. If it is natural, and not forced. If it is in proper relation to the rest of the movie, such as the speed, the steadiness and the motion. The locations that the film was filmed, in tents, the night desert, and especially following the riders while they race over the hot sand. This gave the movie a fluid motion from scene to scene, and it was much appreciated.hidalgo_064

The movie was not just adventure and speed. As you adventure through the movie, you are shown the pain that can be introduced when racing a horse over the course of  two thousand miles. As you see many horsemen fail to reach the end of their journey, you are clearly given a foreshadow to what will happen. Hidalgo is injured, and you must see the troubled rider Frank make difficult decisions.

As with many movies, there is a love interest. I feel that is a major downfall of the film as it is only introduced as a minor plot point in the movie, but sways so much of the story. Frank is guided by the Sheik’s daughter, as she must find love by the hand of the winner of the race. Neither characters, the daughter nor Frank like this arrangement of course as they are rebels and black sheep in their cultures. This does give the movie a spin, but also makes it predictable.

The film gives you respect for the native culture, and for horses both full breed and half. I remember seeing the movie when it was released in 2004, it still gives me appreciation for talent, and for the message it conveys.

I am still very scared of horses.

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