Tom Skerritt in High Noon (2000)

Mid-Day

After years of upholding the law Marshal Will Kane (Tom Skerritt) is calling time on his career having promised his fiancee Amy (Susanna Thompson) that when he married her he would hang up his guns and badge. But news arrives that Frank Miller (Michael Madsen), a man who Kane put away for murder, has been released on pardon and is returning to town looking for revenge. With the new marshal not due to arrive for 24 hours Will can't bring himself to leave and abandon the town despite Amy wanting him to leave. But after returning to town to face Miller when he returns on the noon train Will finds no one forthcoming to help him make a stand against Miller and his men leaving him to do it all on his own.

"Not for you", are the three words which I need to say if you like many are a fan of the exceptional "High Noon" starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly and discover that in 2000 they remade the classic with Tom Skerritt stepping in to Gary Cooper's boots. In truth those are the words I would say to anyone who has loved a movie which has then been remade as remakes are never made for those who love the original.

So that brings me to "High Noon" the 2000 made for TV remake of the classic and if for a minute you can ignore that it is a remake then it isn't terrible. Most of what is good about this version of "High Noon" is down to Tom Skerritt as he has the look of a man who has lived and who knows how people operate. He also gets across the element of disappointment which comes from watching those he has supported and protected leave him to face the trouble on his own. But he also varies the character to the way in which Cooper played Will Kane and makes him a man not fearful of violence.

The thing is that if you take Skerritt out of the equation then this is version of "High Noon" only ends up on par with all the other recent made for TV westerns. By that I mean they lack grit and look more like something which has been shot in a western museum where everyone just goes through their paces, giving the looks and the poses but never delving below the characteristics to find the real character. It is the same with the direction as Rod Hardy gives us those pieces of camera work, the look down a never ending train track but it feels ordinary, lacking soul and atmosphere.

What this all boils down to is that this 2000 version of "High Noon" is on par with modern made for TV westerns which makes it okay for those who enjoy the easy to watch afternoon in the armchair westerns. But like all remakes this is not for those who were fans of the original movie and those who love the original "High Noon" with Gary Cooper are likely to be disappointed.