Wild Bill - * *

An incoherent portrait of the aging Wild Bill Hickok. Jeff Bridges plays the title role, which ranges from a young plainsman, to an older half-blind weary gunfightger. At his side are loyal compatriots Calamity Jane (Ellen Barkin), and Charlie (John Hurt). The story begins with his funeral then proceeds to hop, skip and jump through time and film stocks enough to make the stoutest gunslinger’s head hurt. The film changes from color to black and white, from high-contrast to grainy, from level to slanted more often than Wild Bill shoots people (which is quite a bit). Bridges does a good job at capturing the spirit of Wild Bill, from reckless to tired. However, the supporting cast seems simply tacked on; not much effort goes into any sort of deep characterization. The only true supporting character with a motive is rather overplayed by David Arquette. Many of the scenes are exciting, but director Walter Hill should have connected them together better, rather than lashing together flashbacks, tales, hallucinations and dreams.

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