17 August 2000 | Deacon
Penn gives you a glimpse of things to come in his first film
The director of Bonnie & Clyde and Little Big Man is off to a promising start with The Left Handed Gun, his first film. The film stars a young Paul Newman as Billy the Kid. Billy, working as a ranch hand, swears revenge on the four men who ambushed and killed his boss.
That's about it for plot. Newman plays Billy well, portraying a man bent on his mission. One senses that he means well, but his short temper and dark past always get the best of him, even during his friend's, Pat Garrett (John Dehner in a nice performance), wedding.
Unfortunately, Newman suffers from a weak supporting cast and little character development. I found it hard to believe that Billy could develop such a strong bond with his boss in such a short time (although the movie doesn't exactly specify how long). With the possible exception of Garrett, the remaining players are there to fill up the screen.
In short, I wasn't disappointed with this film, but if you want to view a great Western about a man driven by revenge, definitely see John Wayne in The Searchers.