Hidalgo

Man and horse in perfect harmony

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OPENS APRIL 9, CERT 12A, 136 MINS

“Based on a true story,” Hidalgo tells the tale of half-Indian Pony Express rider Frank T Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen), who salves the pain of witnessing the infamous Wounded Knee massacre by signing up for Saudi Arabia’s legendary “Ocean of Fire” horse marathon, in which he and horse Hidalgo trek 3000 miles across the unforgiving desert. Along the way, Hopkins rubs shoulders with a beautiful desert princess (Zuleikha Robinson), a wily old sheik (Omar Sharif, hamming it up nicely) and a scheming English toff (Louise Lombard). It’s very expensively mounted and 100 per cent untrue.

Sure, Hopkins existed, but the rest is bullshit?he never set foot in Saudi Arabia, and you won’t find the “Ocean of Fire” in the history books. This wouldn’t matter if the flick was good, but it’s not. It’s emotionally fraudulent, poorly constructed nonsense. The anti-Seabiscuit, if you will. Hidalgo squeaks one star for a great Malcolm McDowell cameo and Mortensen’s undoubted star power, but even Viggo’s laser-eyed charisma can’t rescue this overlong pile of steaming Turkish Delight-laced horseshit.

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