(director/writer: Jan Kounen; screenwriters: Matt Alexander/Gerard Brach/based on Jean “Mobius” Giraud’s comic series Blueberry.; cinematographer: Tetsuo Nagata; editors: Jennifer Augé/Bénédicte Brunet/Joël Jacovella; music: Jean-Jacques Hertz/François Roy; cast: Vincent Cassel (Mike Blueberry), Juliette Lewis(Maria Sullivan), Michael Madsen(Wallace Sebastian Blount), Ernest Borgnine (Rolling Star), Nicole Hiltz (Lola), Hugh O’Connor(Young Blueberry), Eddie Izzard (Prosit), Djimon Hounsou(Woodhead), Colm Meaney (Jimmy McClure), Vahina Geocante (Madeleine ), Tcheky Karyo (Uncle), Temuera Morrison (Runi), Geoffrey Lewis (Greg Sullivan); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Thomas Langmann /Ariel Zeitoun; UGC International; 2004)

Opaque mystical western.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

French director Jan Kounen (“Dobermann”/”Other Worlds”) helms this opaque mystical western that’s loosely based on Jean “Mobius” Giraud’s comic series Blueberry. Writers Kounen, Matt Alexander and Gerard Brach never clean up this mess they made of blending a western with a self-discovery drug pic.

It has less depth that your typical comic book, as it goes astray because of its mind expanding attempts through peyote to give things a spiritual bent that unfortunately only registers as a distraction. The long CGI druggie hallucination dying sequence was a bore and made no sense. In the States there was no theater release, only a DVD. It’s set in the 1870s of California. A Cajun teenager Mike Blueberry (Hugh O’Connor) is sent to a small town in California to learn a trade from his cane flogging uncle (Tcheky Karyo). While Mike was visiting a prostitute (Vahina Geocante) in the local whorehouse, the outlaw Wally Blount (Michael Madsen) arrives and tries to kill him for some reason or other. Wally points his gun at the whore, while Mike points his gun at Wally. When the guns fire, the whorehouse burns down as a result of Mike, and the whore is killed by Wally. Mike flees to the ‘sacred mountains’ with a shoulder wound, where he’s nursed back to health by the shaman of the Chiricuahuas (Apaches) and is raised by his tribe. Mike assumed the outlaw died in the fire he caused. As a young adult Mike (Vincent Cassel) becomes marshal of Palomito. There he courts the feisty saloon singer Maria Sullivan (Juliette Lewis), whose real father (Geoffrey Lewis) plays her saloon owner town official father in the movie. The ghosts of the past return to haunt Mike, as Wally appears in town hunting down a revolting Prussian con man map-maker called Prosit (Eddie Izzard). The bad guys are heading to the ‘sacred mountains’ to search for the mythical buried gold, but before leaving Mike’s old nemesis puts a bullet in him. As he dies hallucinating, we follow the stoned Mike’s life-long yearnings through some odd images while in reality his Apache friend Runi (Temuera Morrison) and other Apaches make sure the gold seekers don’t violate their tribal grounds.

Ernest Borgnine plays the town’s crippled sheriff. Djimon Hounsou is the scalped partner of Izzard.

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