blueberry.jpgrating-3.0Blueberry, retitled Renegade in America, is the adaptation of a famous European comic about the Western adventures of a former Confederate who learns to abhor racism and travels the West, becoming involved with the Indian population and righting wrongs.

As the writer's family has disowned the film (the writer himself having died in the late 80's), you probably get a good idea as to how well the source material was maintained in this hallucinogenic pseudo-Western.

An interesting cast is trotted out and everyone does a fair job, but the main complaint for pretty much anyone that sees the fim is going to be its near-incomprehensibility. The film bears more resemblance to Altered States than the source material and its journey into shamanistic hallucinations derails any vague sense of plot the movie has.

But, oh, the visuals. Like star Vincent Cassel's previous French special effects film, Brotherhood Of The Wolf, there is a stunning visual beauty and tone to the film, but, in this case, the plot is a mishmash of slight elements and a third act of bizarre visual proportions. The lack of any gunplay or real action kind of strips it of any similarity to the Blueberry comic, instead filling the space with dream-like backstory of innocence lost and a revenge plot that never pays off the visceral capacity of any Western movie.

Cassel plays Blueberry himself (and does a good job of it, for what it is) and leads up a cast that actually delivers better performances than they usually do... Juliette Lewis, for example, manages to be not-terrible, despite a film career based on awful acting. Michael Madsen actually delivers a fairly strong performance as the film's villain, despite shoddy work in the past and phone-ins like Bloodrayne. With good cameos from Ernest Borgnine, Djimon Hounsou, Eddie Izzard, and Colm Meany, the film carries the weight of a strong cast and, with the beautiful visual tone of the movie, the film could easily have been a new vision of the Western. But the script didn't allow for this.

The plot is nothing more than an excuse to ramp up to a bizarre ending, fueled by drug-induced visions of snakes and centipedes, flimsily-based on a premise of revenge, loss, and a search for treasure.

While an intriguing film to watch and impressively made, the film is hamstrung by its own overindulgence.

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