Friday, September 15, 2006

Victoria Bylin: Broken Trail

I loved “Broken Trail” with Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church, the recent made-for-TV western on AMC. The landscape, honorable men, courage in the face of violence . . . the four-hour movie had everything I love about the western genre, but mostly I enjoyed the relationship between Tom Hart and Sun Foy aka No. 3.

They fell in love without speaking the same language. How is that possible? We put so much emphasis on communication these days. I’m one of those people. I believe in men and women talking through their problems, but that movie made me think. Tom and No. 3 communicated without words. They spoke with their actions.

When the villain kidnaps one of the Chinese girls and rapes her, Tom administers some well earned justice. Sun Foy sees his effort and knows his heart. When he finds a rip in his shirt, she takes the garment while he’s asleep and mends it with a patch from her own clothing. He sees the delicate stitching and knows she's perceptive and kind. It’s one of my favorite scenes. All action, no talk.

The best, though, is the very end. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who might rent the movie, but I gasped out loud when the stage pulled away. Watch Tom's eyes . . . Without a word or a touch, that look said everything. Now that’s romance!


CherylStJ said...

I loved Broken Trail, too! It's my current wallpaper. I adore Robert Duvall as a grizzled old cowboy, and this role reminded me of his part in my all-time favorite Lonesome Dove. He makes a good mentor character.

I appreciated the natural dialogue between story people, expecially the men. And the scenery is beautiful. I taped it, but if it's out on DVD I'll buy it.

Karla said...

I loved the movie and I read the book afterwards. Strangely, the movie did a much better job with characterization. I've found the reverse is usually true. Another way the movie was an improvement is that Sun Fu stays behind, but in the book she leaves. That final shot of them really is a killer. So well done.