It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Frank Perry's "Doc" works very well just as a Western, no matter what its higher ambitions may be. But because it has the presumption to mess with the saga of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, it is getting some knocks from the New York Critics. Doc and Wyatt were immortalized (for film buffs anyway) by John Ford's masterpiece "My Darling Clementine." In using the same characters it's almost as if Perry were a bad guy like Martin Rackin -- who had the gall to remake Ford's "Stagecoach."
Well, a remake is one thing (and a travesty in Rackin's case). But another look at characters in the public domain is something else again, and Perry's approach to those strange events so many years ago in Tombstone is altogether fascinating. It is also a good Western, by the by.
Its greatest strength is in the acting. Stacy Keach and Harris Yulin -- two New York actors who were last in the totally different kind of film "End of the Road" -- have such a quiet way of projecting the willingness to do violence that you realize, after a while, that most Western actors are overactors. There's a kind of private club of actors who have conspired to make Westerns: John Wayne, of course, and Lancaster, Eastwood, Douglas, Widmark, Mitchum and the rest.
But they've made so many, many Westerns with each other, in different combinations, that they've established a kind of acting tone that you expect in ALL Westerns. Keach and Yulin are outside the club, are new to the Western and create Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp out of new cloth.