Ring of Fire | Chicago Reader

Ring of Fire

With its well-rounded cast and its tale of sibling rivalry on the rodeo circuit, this 2000 feature promises something more heated and provocative than the ambling character study it delivers. Kiefer Sutherland is the sensible mentor to his younger brother (Marcus Thomas), who's inherited their estranged father's reckless charisma; a fetching woman (Daryl Hannah) roils the fraternal bond. Director Xavier Koller, who came to Hollywood after the success of his Swiss feature Journey of Hope (1990), seems intrigued by the rodeo scene but can't delve into it as deeply as Sam Peckinpah did with Junior Bonner. James Redford's script flashes back to incidents that are supposed to explain the brothers' behavior and their mother's antagonism toward the father, but these hackneyed devices don't add much. With Molly Ringwald, Melinda Dillon, and Pete Postlethwaite. Alternate title: Cowboy Up. 104 min.

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