Appaloosa falls right in with these. Taking a traditional Western story (two friends/compatriots are hired by a small town to protect it from a local criminal gang leader who has murdered the local sheriff and are impacted when one falls for the charms of a morally challenged woman) and films it beautifully, without feeling the need for over editing, constant running gunfights or an easy resolution.
Some have claimed that Appaloosa was slow. In comparison to another recent Western (3:10 to Yuma) this film flys by. Mortenesen of course puts in another solid effort here as the hired gun who doesn't fall for the woman, keeping his bedroom activities for the local whore...And this is where the film grabs most of its tension—not between the "bad guys" and the "good guys" but between whether or not Rene Zellweger's character is going to be able to ruin the friendship and working relationship between Mortensen and Ed Harris' characters.
I can't stand Zellweger and she does nothing here to redeem hereself—though I suppose the fact I am repulsed by her helped me hate her character here which is what the director and writer want, still...she is a waste compared to the other actors who surround her in this film: Mortensen, Harris, Jeremy Irons and Lance Henriksen.
Harris not only starred in this film but directed it as well and picked Mortensen for this role. Harris does a solid job of portraying a brave but ultimately weak man who cannot let go of his Zellweger's character no matter how many times she betrays him—showing that the man with the gun is not always the one ultimately in charge.
All in all it is well done and quite enjoyable. Nothing groundbreaking here but solid all around.