Friday, 16 October 2009


Stepping off a bus in New Mexico with just a briefcase, a sarcastic and short-tempered soldier named Gagin begins a search through the town of San Pablo for Frank Hugo, the mobster who killed his best friend Shorty. After tracking down the hotel Hugo is staying at, Gagin bumps into Retz, an FBI agent determined to dissuade him from his vigilante strategy. All the while, Gagin is being stalked by an enamoured peasant girl named Pila who had shown him the direction to the hotel. Disconcerted by the feeling of being followed everywhere he goes, Gagin takes refuge at an aging carousel where he is once again joined by Pila. With time running out, Gagin bites the bullet and decides to take action, no matter what the consequences.

A simple story it may appear, but Ride The Pink Horse builds complexities from the diverse set of characters brought into the loop. Gagin, played by director Robert Montgomery, makes for an unusual protagonist, giving nothing away of his identity or his emotional state (the villagers of San Pablo give him the nickname “the man with no place”). The rural New Mexico backdrop seems curious for a noir film, but the large, open spaces are equally as suffocating as the dark city shadows in most other films of the genre. The photography is masterly, with some brilliantly captured sequences towards the climax. Dark, brooding and effortlessly classy, Ride The Pink Horse is a recommended watch for those tired of the ‘urban thriller’.

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