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Blackthorn gives an older Butch Cassidy one more grand adventure

Eduardo Noriega (pictured) and Sam Shepard star in Blackthorn, a film that chronicles one of Butch Cassidy's last adventures
Eduardo Noriega (pictured) and Sam Shepard star in Blackthorn, a film that chronicles one of Butch Cassidy's last adventures
Arcadia Motion Pictures/Pablo Paniagua

Blackthorn

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Blackthorn, playing tonight and on Friday night at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan, shares a new story about Butch Cassidy, one where he and the Sundance Kid survive the shootout in Boliva, and he lives on incognito (as James Blackthorn) in South America.

Based on the rumor that Cassidy died quietly on a Nevada ranch in the 1930s, the film tracks Cassidy’s one last adventure, which takes place on his way back home to that ranch, to live with the son he has never met.

Sam Sheppard fills the title role with grizzly gravitas, exploring the life of a man who has learned the real costs of survival and loyalty and is about to have those lessons tested, once again. On that journey back home, Cassidy is accosted by, and eventually teams up with a Spanish mine robber, who is being doggedly pursued by a large posse. Both men have secrets, one deadlier than the other, with pasts that speak volumes about their respective values and motives.

Breathtaking cinematography and an outstanding performance by Sam Sheppard make this western memorable. Equally enjoyable are the brief flashbacks that attempt to fill in the missing gaps in the history of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Filmed in a combination of English and Spanish (with English subtitles) the movie has a good narrative and director Mateo Gil has given it a good pace; screenwriter Miguel Barros provides a plot that twists and turns from past to present and back again.

Stephen Rea gives a rousing, realistic, supporting performance as the Pinkerton agent, Mackinley, who has been chasing Cassidy for decades through South America. Eduardo Noriega plays the Spanish mining engineer turned robber.

Four out of five stars. Strong performances, good story telling and the romance and grittiness of the Old West live on in this film. Highly recommended for anyone over age 13, as there is a lot of shooting and death, but very little gore.

Blackthorn is playing at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York tonight at 5:30 p.m. and again on this Friday, April 29 at 9:00 p.m. Go here for the full schedule. Be aware that even if a film is sold out, there are often ‘rush’ tickets available at the last minute.

The Tribeca Film Festival is an entertaining and highly diverse film festival – which is only a short train ride away on the MetroNorth New Haven line – and offers Connecticut residents an incredible variety of new films to watch, close to home – from full length features to documentaries to short films from all over the world – as well as film panels with screenwriters, directors and actors, and a host of special events. It is worth going into Manhattan and enjoying this festival; most of the films are interesting and buzz worthy.

Other Tribeca Film reviews:

Last Night – a wonderful, insightful film about relationships and faithfulness with Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington. Also available on demand from Cablevision.

The Good Doctor – an interesting melodrama about physicians and patients, starring Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings)

Cairo Exit – a modern Romeo and Juliet story, set in Egypt. Amal is Christian, her boyfriend Tarek is Muslim; their fates tied to a homeland that does not support their love.

Underwater Love - a weird and wacky Japanese ‘pink’ film (erotica) that is only for true lovers of that genre. One out of five stars.

The Infidel - a film from last year's Tribeca Film Festival, available now on Netflix - hysterical farce about cultural differences

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