In this action/adventure movie that is set in the late 1800s, a cowboy and his mustang participate in a grueling 3,000 mile race across the harsh Arabian Desert. After trying to smother feelings of guilt with too much drink, the cowboy, Frank T. Hopkins, is challenged by the Arabian Sheik to prove that his horse, Hidalgo, truly is the best long-distance racer. In order to prove himself, Frank travels to Arabia to be the first foreigner to participate in the esteemed race. It becomes not only a race for the title, but also for honor and for survival as the racers’ very lives are put at stake.
Hidalgo is reminiscent of a classic western. With a true western adventure style, it’s the kind of movie that makes you wish that you could don a cowboy hat and boots, mount a horse, and ride off into the sunset. Hidalgo is easy and fun to watch and the horses are beautiful. Packed with plenty action, this film reminded me repeatedly of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
While the main plot of the film is the race, 3,000 miles is bound to get tiring. However, this movie had interesting subplots woven in to keep the story fresh and interesting. Due to some stellar cinematographic work, the desert scenes look fabulous.
The MPAA rated this film PG13 for “adventure violence and some mild innuendo.”
Profanity consists of some minor expletives (uses of h- and d-). Some of the characters smoke and drink and, near the beginning of the film, it’s obvious that Frank has a problem with alcohol.
The violence could be a problem for some, but it is much more realistic than graphic just for the sake of being so. There is much fighting (mainly with swords and guns) and a head is severed at one instance although it isn’t too graphic. While the film itself isn’t excessively intense, the violence is something to be wary of.
The Sheik’s daughter is disrespectful to her father by going behind his back. Sadly, she seems to think very similarly to the modern-day liberated woman and is unhappy with her feminine role. Even though any woman would loathe the thought of being a man’s fifth wife, her rebellious spirt and yearning to break free of her female bonds is a dangerous mindset to have. This film does not show what a wonderful calling it is to be a woman and a how a Christian woman can have a bigger impact and a greater influence embracing whom God has designed her to be. Girls should not try to be men in their actions, their dress, their words, or their desires. In order for men to be men, women need to start acting like ladies. Hidalgo shows the opposite of this view, and the Sheik’s daughter is actually rewarded for her rebellion while her father is shown to be stubborn, old, and uncaring.
My other main issue with the film was the innuendo which was present throughout the movie. Specifically, one woman attempts to seduce a man and, additionally, horses breeding, castration, etc. are also mentioned in other scenes.
Another problem is the entire world view of the film. The race takes place in Arabia and everyone is a devout worshipper of Allah. Frank constantly is rejecting this, but, instead of telling others to trust in the one, true God, instead he mentions “trusting in your horse.” A Christian perspective is severely lacking in this movie and it’s disappointing.
Even though this was an entertaining movie and I enjoyed parts of it, Hidalgo isn’t one that I would chose to see again. Viggo Mortensen did an incredible acting job and the story was fast-paced and exciting. Nevertheless, with the innuendo, albeit minor, and the somewhat cliched plot, in my opinion, Hidalgo just isn’t worthy of watching or recommending.