June 21, 2024 | Rome, Italy

The Milagro Beanfield War

By |2018-03-21T18:39:45+01:00March 17th, 2010|Reviews|


Date: 1988

Director: Robert Redford

Starring: Sonia Braga, John Heard, Rubén Blades, Christopher Walken Robert Redford

Redford’s baby gem depends on the pace of its David Grusin soundtrack, sly, comic, ironic. It’s a well-stitched David-vs.-Goliath parable that wears a droopy sombero. Milagro is a small town in New Mexico where nothing happens and everyone’s familiar with the goings-on.

Suddenly, developer Ladd Devine — who has a wife named Flossie (Melanie Griffin) — wants to put up resort. There’s a fuss, sure, with Ruby (Sonia Braga; wonderful) and newspaper chief Charlie Bloom (John Heard) leading the way. But how to agitate unduly when building a resort means jobs? Enter Joe Mondregon, who’s been stealing water to feed his farm. The Devine project would end all that. In fact, it would just about end the town’s self-reliance and delightful isolation.

That’s when things get thorny for the interlopers, and “war” breaks out. The bad guy, in sleazy style, is a man whimsically named Kyril Montana (Christopher Walken). But the lazy pace, all emotion and much compromise, is dictated by local sheriff Bernabe Montoya (Ruben Blades), who tries hard to see the big picture. Redford captures the mood as if he’d made up life on Mars, navigating deftly between the laid back and the philosophical. This is a Reagan-era “little people” movie that never condescends. John Nichols, author of the eponymous novel, also wrote the screenplay.

About the Author:

A military brat, Marcia Yarrow was born in Hamburg, Germany but grew up in Germany, Spain, and Provo, Utah. She's been writing for the magazine since its creation in 2004.