Rockwell (1994)

R   |    |  Western

Rockwell (1994) Poster

Story based on Porter Rockwell, bounty hunter and body guard to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.


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29 November 2014 | kalavic
| Such a disappointment.
I wasn't expecting much from this low budget film but was looking forward to it all the same. It could have gone either the folklore route or historical route and been incredibly interesting if done at least half-way decent. That is where this goes all wrong. It did nothing except show a guy dressed up as him trying to make tough, thoughtful facial expressions.

None of the scenes are personal in any way. There is a guy with a name. Girls have crushes on him. He falls in love with a pretty girl with a pretty dress. We are shown that there are historical characters who were in history. There are shady guys who feel the need to shift shady glances constantly each time they mention the Mormons' property. People shoot at him and he shoots them. Carl Malone is there. All of the time spent tying in a narrator feels convoluted and does nothing to provide insight into the title character.

I really don't see how it was possible to write such horrible script and direct such a horrible film when there is so much material to write it off and so many effective, straight-forward methods of telling the story. For instance, the first scene shows some kid's parents get shot. He goes to Joseph Smith's house and sees Rockwell there. Now we know he was a friend of Smith, and we are later told they were friends from childhood. Why not just open by showing Rockwell trying to bust Joseph out of prison? Later we see a reenactment of Smith's assassination, who has been introduced but not developed. This tells us nothing about Rockwell. Also it was hard to not get distracted by the comic mob noises. By now you're getting the idea.

Now throw in stale dance scene to give Carl Malone some time on stage. Others have mentioned the play scene. By now we feel like we're being deliberately insulted.

The only saving grace, of which there is little, are the scenes and quotes that made Rockwell a legend. The ear collector scene was solid enough. The problem is that at least 80% of the film should be like that, but we get less than 10%.

Conclusion: If you have a Mormon grandpa, go camping with him and he'll spin a good Porter Rockwell yarn or two. If you don't, find a good book on him. I'm sure some day there will be an amazing film, too, but this ain't it.

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