Thursday, March 17, 2016

Into The West

When thinking of the emerald isle I always think of Tír na nÓg a magical land in Ireland. Different stories make it a kind of world, another realm, then there's this movie, where it's a horse. It's a magic horse, though still not a land of fey and honey (though the White Knight might have something to say about hives on a horse). In general this is a film about family and a bit of Irish culture, also a beautiful white horse. We'll be taking you on a step for step journey through the film, if this is your first time seeing it, then you're in for the same ride as us, if you've enjoyed this movie, then take a second venture into this week's feature.

The cover doesn't do anything for me. It doesn't sell me on the magical side of things in the film, though it's a magical realism film. What that means is that it's mostly luck and circumstance that dives the magical side of things, there is more that protects the main characters, but it's left up to them to help themselves. Though they are given the tools at the right time to use for the right problem. Anyhow the cover that I have seems to be a collaboration between the countries. They do this a lot for covers of international films. They'll edit some things that they think that majority of the public will like, so we have the main characters in the air while they're being chased by other horses and cops on the beach all at the same time, I'm guessing this is all a fever dream of the horse. This is the story I'm given with the cover.

Then the film opens on a beach as the tide goes in and out with harp music strumming along to the peaceful scene as a white horse gallops and trots on the moonlit sky, revealing the title of the film. We see more of the horse, it's daylight out and an old man is by the rocks looking for something as the horse comes to him. They look at each other, staring, trying to figure out what the other will do. The horse seems to beckon the man to him in some way. Then the man travels back to his trailer and horse, he travels away from the beach down a pale road, ascending by the emerald grass all along the field. His dog in tow and the white horse from the beach following behind, then they stop for some water, collected at a water fall.

We're then introduced to what time it is, we're in modern society of 1992, a Father is telling his kids as they walk toward something important that he's not their father, that they need to tell people that they're not his kin. It's kind of a depressing note to run into from the beauty that is the first part of the film, then this Father that's telling his kids new names to live by. Morfie is the most common name in all Ireland. Sorry, the kid that plays Ossie has a thick accent, he says Murphy, I really want the name Morfie for a character, I came close with Morph in the X-Men: Animated Series. So then we see a desolate dirt pile next to a metal trailer, the trailer before was more like a large barrel, this one is more modern and blocky.

All these kids come from who knows where to sell the idea that they're all from this one family to get money from the government. That's the reason that the father needed to change the boy's names, it's not an honest thing to do, though I'm glad the children in the park get fed. It seem the old man is the GrandDad of the two kids. The Father wears a black trench coat and has two gold rings on his right hand, one on the pinkie and the other on the middle. Something about the white horse makes it magical, though I'm not sure what, but they want to  keep 'em, keep the horse and Ossie has "the gift" GrandDad said the Father lost.

The Father is called Papa through the film, so we'll fallow suit. Papa sells his car, it's broken and trashed and we find out that they're travelers. The old Man and the Papa fight about what's best for the children, being travelers or settlers. The old ways are dead in the eyes of Papa and GrandDad exclaims that it was better and still is better to live on the road. We see the kids being dumb, trying to jump fire on horses, it seems that Ireland doesn't have bikes or it's cheaper to have horses over there in 1992. Then we get to hear the name of the white horse, it's the mythical land called Tír na nÓg. The GrandDad finishes a story, about a princess and a man never gets off a great white horse. He's an amazing storyteller, collecting the children and keeping their attention, talking about the ashes of a hero who aged super-fast by getting off his horse. The boys' father used to be the King of all the Travelers, the youngest ever. Now he's a drunk most of the time, just trying to gain money for booze, though we never see him drink. Anyhow the white horse comes back with them to the apartment.

The boys try to help the neighbor kids from having their parents drink all of their money away. By panhandling on a popular street begging for any amount of cash, though it seems that ever since they got the horse Ossie's health has been doing better. This is a problem since Ossie needs to pretend he's ill for them to get money while singing. After they grabbed food and headed back to the camp, we hear the slur Tinkers. Tinkers, it's a word that came up on Game Grumps a lot, thanks to RubberNinja (Ross O'Donovan), he says it's like a slur like hobo or tramp, though these kids are proud to be who they are, even if they don't think much of themselves, they're proud. So it's kinda like gypsies, they romanticize the traveler's lifestyle and what it's like to be always on the move.

While sitting around the camp, Ossie talks to the white horse, then the brother yells at him for talking to the white horse, then explains to the white horse that he was a traveler and not his brother. And how his father fell from grace, because of their mother's death. Papa was strong, but not at heart. It killed him and his appetite for adventure. The older brother was hammering a bucket through the conversation, I just really want to set the scene for you… I really don't know either.

Quick cut to the next scene and a knock comes at the door of the apartment. The boys are bathing the white horse, as folks from a committee give idol threats to the boy's horse, the father's sons, their happiness, their joy, this beautiful beast. So the father hangs one of the men off the balcony to prove that he'll take some action, some force and throw the man from stories up. No problem, no hurt, no more of this mess. Then the father goes back to his room after the two men and the screaming woman leave. Then the cops come and Papa can't do anything this time. The White horse has none of it, kicking and such. The horse's eyes become tiny and fearful, then the cops bring out their guns and the father stops them from shooting the boy in front of the white horse. Ossie asks the white horse to stop and he does so. then they all walk outside. They load the horse up and take him away. Young Ossie doesn't take it well, it was their horse and their Papa couldn't do anything to stop them.

The next day the father gets the money to pay for the horse to be set free, though it's been sold. It seems when the captain saw the horse jump over a car he knew that he could make a pretty penny on it's jumping skill. The cop chased Papa out of the station and we see the creepy businessman, though he wants things to be on the up and up. Signed over and everything, though wants the horse to jump higher and higher. Anyhow a truman official, not officer, says the boys haven't been to school in 2 months. Papa worries and overreacts, like most parents, and takes the TV away. Says the boys need to catch up on their learning before they get to see this ever again. We see a cute joke of the oldest boy sneaking a little peek from the hole in the wall that was left by the horse.

Professor Steeping, Gom, and Tea Steeping meet Tayto, the potato faced teen.
Tea does not take well to him, nor his unproportional body and large veggie head.

Tato, I think the older brother is named after the many eyed spud.
Not Tito, I will only take the naming of cast from Ossie, this child who is older than me now.

Then the oldest proves that he can read mighty well, so they have a wonderful father son moment, it's really sweet the way it all happens, since Papa pops into his room and grabs the TV for the boys, with a smile and a wink. The boys go to town to grab a video (yeah it's great, they go to a video store, it's perfect). Then the brothers hear on the screen that Mr. Heart is breeding the horse, well that the horse was breed to be this amazing. Ossie is furious and storms out of the store with brother in tow. We cut back to the apartment where the father is taken by the cops. It seems that he's apart of a gang, or he's being accused to being apart of a gang. The father is brought into a room and told to watch what happens. The rider of a horse is kicked off by the exclaimed name Tír na nÓg by the boys. Then the brothers ride off with the horse. Papa looks on, with a grin, as they both boys ride off into the world with Tír na nÓg, down alleyways and streets, dodging the police and such. While getting away they need to make a few bucks for some reason and sell the saddle to a creepy guy in a trailer. He robs Tato (more or less, since it was stolen already), but still the saddle was worth hundreds, he bought it for 20 pounds. So Tato stole the drying clothes out back and flipped off the creep.

The boys board a train and start heading west, it's the middle of the night. Papa can't write, that's why he doesn't want his sons to be like him to go to school to be better than this broken king of the travelers. The father is set free from the police and the cops are still on the run to find the boys. We're back to the boys, in the train car, the horse and all are fine. The brothers talk, the youngest wants to know more about their mother, it's something that a lot of people do when they're young, talk about the ones they can't remember or the ones they haven't seen, but know they were apart of their life. It's a good moment, it's a strong scene.

Then we're back at the camp, Papa starts talking to GrandDad. Papa blames GrandDad's stories for the death of his wife and for the boys running away. It's in a way true, but Papa is just worried about his boys, that they'll end up dead, that he'll lose everything in life. That's why he stopped traveling, so they could be someplace that he could always watch. Now they're gone and he doesn't even know where they are or where they could be going. For one reason or another Papa covers his face in ash from the fire and tells GrandDad that he'll make a big deal about the death of his wife, it's a scene that's well acted, though the emotion was half-hearted as it should be, you can feel the drowning man inside, though his true form is still trapped at sea.

Anyhow the boy's train stopped, Tato (I love that's what Ossie calls him, it's something else I'm sure, but to me, he'll always be Tato, ya little spud you) jumps the car and heads toward the bridge to find out if they're close to Dublin. It is Dublin, though the train starts taking off before Tato has a chance to grab Ossie. All is lost, the whole trip now gone to hell, there's no going back to the old home and no mother only the disappointment of their father waits for him on the return. Then Ossie and Tír na nÓg come out of the smug and haze, Ossie starts yelling that Tato should never leave. Tato in joy and remorse, tells his brother that he'll never be gone again.

Papa seems to be riding around the country side looking for the boys, he stops for a smoke while viewing another camp of travelers. The camp doesn't react well to him. They let him into the camp, something about the camp brings back long forgotten thoughts. A woman is there that's quite lovely, though Papa is more interested in the old wooden barrel trailer, like GrandDad's in the back of the camp. An old friend comes running toward him, embracing him in cheer and encouraging him to keep going.

Poor Tír na nÓg has to listen to the boys sing, it's really cute, cause it looks like the beast is dancing. Anyhow the white horse takes them on, deeper into the wood. They rest by a castle, then complain that there's no food in the wild, no beans. Tato leaves to go to the shops, not sure where there's shops in this area, but he leaves after saying he'd never leave again. The business man starts looking for the horse, people come from all over trying to show off their breed, that's not the intent of the hunt for Tír na nÓg. The countryside and towns are being combed by the police. Tato doesn't take long and makes it back. It seems the boys really like cowboys and westerns, so this is an exciting trip. Tato returns with the tins of beans and Ossie wants to know if they have a reward on their heads. Like every One Piece character they celebrate that they have a wanted poster and a worth/rank in the world. The boys try to cook beans, but they don't know that leaving cans directly in fire will just have it explode in the flames.

Anyhow we're back at the travelers camp and we find that Mary (the wife of Papa) died while giving birth to Ossie. It seems the father hates the settled people, since they wouldn't take his wife into the hospital, they didn't accept her because she was a traveler. So Papa decided to become one, a settled mass, so his boys would be able to grow and take advantage of the new world. It's not his way, but when she died he became a stone, sinking to the bottom of a bottle of booze. Then Papa is encouraged to dance, it lightens his heart a bit while looking for his sons. The cops show up, not sure why, but they do and sober up the cheerful events, bringing shame and aggression with 'em. Papa goes to the old trailer and thumbs through the cabin. Looking for something, and finds a tin with a picture of Mary, the wife that he cries for each day. Papa can't sleep and can't read. Tracker doesn't trust John (Papa), though Tracker's sister tells 'em that she can help. The next morning they start riding horses to find the boys, somehow the sister knows that the boys are far off into the green, off the beaten path.

The cops see this and can't do much at that point. We cut back to the station, the boys are being seen everywhere, it's the worst for cops when a reward is on someone's mind, everyone seeing the price and not the face. Then we see that the captain or who ever that guy is, is still a jerk. Calls Mister Riley (Papa John, really it's his character's name, though never brings pizza home) a bloody gypsy, it's really disheartening to hear this type of talk and his superior shows this on his face, staring at the darkened man yelling and cursing about the traveler and his boys.

Papa's group finds the camp the boys were at, it's not much for what it's worth, though it's a lead stronger than anything that Papa had found. The boys were smart enough to bury the coals from the other night (not smart enough to open the cans of beans), though the Sister figured the spot that they buried them. The Father hops over the wall to her side. Somehow she knows that they've been gone for about 6 hours.

The boys start to act like brothers and start fighting a bit, not too much. Tato starts being like a big brother and teases Ossie, that he's getting older, since he got off the horse like the story from GrandDad. Then Ossie starts calling for their Mammie. Tato yells at him that she's dead, Ossie replies that he knows, he was hoping that their Dad would come. It's a wonderfully emotional scene.

Anyhow Ossie doesn't want to be outdoors again, it's an interesting scene, since it brings up the idea that they're City boys. They know how to survive with basic things, but when it comes to roughing it, it's hard without shelter, since they're used to convinces that Cities have. Tato tells Ossie that they can't get a hotel, but that a movie house would be a great second option, so Ossie pops into the theater to prop open the door when everyone leaves, then they can spend the night. On the screen is Back to the Future Part 3, while Tato and Tír na nÓg are in the rain. Then the boys have a feast while in the theater house. Tír na nÓg has a ball too with all the sweets, as do the boys. Through pure luck or the magic of the white horse, the cops swing by the theater and miss that the boys turned on the sign to figure out how to catch the movie. Their kin gallop by them, they get all the way to the alley that the boys were then turn back to the edge of town. We cut back to the boys, warm out of the rain, watching the film while the horse tries to encourage that they go. We grab the end of a dream with Papa (the pizza was burn!). It seems that he's still worried that they'll take his boys, that's what he's more worried about than anything. Then the sister and Papa have a chat about how life has been treating them.

The next morning hits and the theater opens, though Tír na nÓg greets the cleaning lady, she runs out screaming, then the boys make another "Hi-Ho Silver" reference. Then all the cops in the area come out in a horde hunting the kids, the business man has had it and wants that horse, dead or alive. The boys keep running and they corner themselves into an alley. The cops club up and start a slow walk toward the horse, then a girl let's them into the house. They trot through and head off into the wood. Copters are everywhere, things seem a bit more dire to Papa and the Sister as they collect the horses and start rushing off. The boys start talking to each other as they travel into the wood, they start talking about that tale and how they miss their family. They decide to turn back, but the horse doesn't want to, Tír na nÓg just starts running, full force starts running off in the wood with no care in the world.

Everything is coming to a head at this point, all the hunters and copter and dogs come out of the woodwork looking for these kids on a horse. This beautiful beast thinks of the brightest thing and starts to throw the hunters off by going through water, this fools the dogs, since they can't pick up the scent anymore. They start going in circles, though toward the waterfall where they wait behind while the hunters can't make heads or tails of things. They huddle and wait, the dogs leave. It's a magic moment again with the horse that knows about the cave under the fall, then the ruins that were there once upon a time. The horse goes to a spot in the ruins and stops, right at a headstone:

Mary Reilly 1960 to 1985

It seems this is their mother's headstone. Ossie finally finds out that his mother died on his birthday. Then they have another moment about him not seeing his mother. Papa looks toward the cliffs, he knows what's on the other side, he knows where they are, though doesn't want to make the trip. Papa stands at Mary's headstone and morns her proper, then GrandDad pops out of nowhere, as Papa gives his respects. GrandDad comes there every year on the anniversary, Papa keeps coming back to the old places and it's swinging him into the familiar places, digging up what he thought was buried, but it's only drying out the poison and replacing it with the man once more.

Somehow GrandDad knows where Tír na nÓg is going, the shores are beautiful as they crash against the cliffs. The business man's copter catches up to them as they reach the cliffside. I guess the boys follow the cliffside down, it's not really explained, but it progresses the story more. And on the beach is Papa and the Sister, they're waiting for the boys there. Papa has the best smile, a joy that hasn't been seen in the film for quite a while. The horse won't stop, telling the boys that they won't go back to the towers. It's a hard scene, since he wants to keep the boys as happy as can be, would give his life for them to have a better one than his. It's hard since how much is of this is a parent that doesn't want to lose his family or a man that doesn't want to lose the only two people that reminds him of his happiness?

Papa is calls and warned that the bad men that look like they came straight from the Planet of the Apes movie, as they drag the kids off the horse with nets. They tie up Papa and the others as Ossie is the only one that's free as he asks his father to save him, but he can't. Tír na nÓg goes back to the sea, it's the only way to save the kid, the kid that can't breath well, the kid that's maybe never swam in water, the kid that's now going to drown on a horses back.

Then Papa fights off the raiders and the insane cop, then jumps into the sea. He swims as far as he can, looking for his son, looking for the lad that rode into the water and never looked back. Ossie is lifeless in the water, not a twitch of muscle, not an ounce of air in his lungs, only bubbles escaping. Then long hair comes from the world above, it's connected to a hand, a woman that has long white hair and a kind voice. Then Papa has Ossie in his arms, taking the boy back to the shore. The cops arrive and they stand in horror as the father tries to give mouth to mouth to the young lad, he doesn't know what he's doing. Ossie is dead, he's lost, then from the gates of heaven Ossie comes back, alive and wild in imagination. The white horse is gone, the bad guys are shipped into wagons and everyone is a bit more happy. It can't be a family movie if the bad guy doesn't get what he deserves and the good guys win. Though in a way it's a grey ending, the bad guys don't get what they want, the good guys don't get what they want. The bad guys are punished for being horrible people and the good guys get to have family and a little more peace in their lives, but neither side has Tír na nÓg to love. Though the good guys find that family is enough and the horse is what was needed for emotion to come back into their lives, the bad guys just can't make money or have fame anymore with the horse, but since the business man didn't really need Tír na nÓg he's not any worse for wear, since he's got tons of money (he'll pay his fines and be rich still pining over a horse),.

I mean it's a great ending, everyone is happy, Ossie is alive, the horse went back to the magical realm it came from and totally didn't drown in the water…. you know, everything is fine, the white horse was magical/aquatic… they all board up in GrandDad's trailer and head home. Papa finally comes to give amends to his wife, let her soul rest, from his mind and his spirit. They all head back to the headstone that gives Mary's birth and death. Ossie says that the horse was their mother and now she's on her way home. Papa says a beautiful line "There's a bit of travelers in all of us, but only a few know where to go". They burn the old barrel trailer that was Mary and John's home, with that they split the chains from this world to the next as the fire blazes high into the sky while a pipe plays and we see the white horse once again in the fiery mess. Also it gallops in the moon light, reflecting back to the beginning of the film, showing the circle of life I'm assuming or just that this is the end.

It's a film that has a great ending, since everything wasn't around a plot it was around a character arc, so the way it ends, with them not heading home or heading back to the camp or setting up another movie is fine, since this is where everything was leading up to. There wasn't really any time line in the plot structure that would imply that there should be. Here and there time passes and is implied that it's moving along, but it's not important to the film, since it's about the horse and the Riley family. This is one of those films that's a classic, I could watch this over and over again and love every second, since it's not too heavy, but could be looked over time and time again to find more things that was missed the first time. Also if you love the 90's this is the perfect film that reflects that time for those that didn't live in a City and wanted a film that existed in the 90's. It's the journey that one has from town to town, village to village and looks spectacular to the effect that a 90's trek through a bunch of boroughs looks like. If everyone didn't talk with an irish dialect this would be New Jersey, though the landscape and the architecture is greater than anything I've laid eyes on.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
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Keep well and Stay well.

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