Saturday, April 9, 2011
Movie of the Week
Starring- Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris
The last great western film I've seen was this Oscar winner from one of my all time favorite badasses, Clint Eastwood. Unforgiven is the story of aging bandit and killer, Will Munny who is asked to come out of retirement to hunt some unsavory characters who cut up a prostitute in the town of Big Whiskey. Joining Munny are his old partner, Ned (Freeman) and the Scofield Kid, a young would-be killer who needs the veteran Munny's killing instincts.
The sheriff of Big Whiskey, Little Bill (Hackman), is unhappy about the fact that the ladies of the brothel have offered a reward for the deaths of the men who hurt their friend because he will not allow firearms in his town. Another more famous killer, English Bob (Harris) and his biographer arrive in Big Whiskey, hoping to secure the reward, but Bill savagely beats Bob and arrests him, showing what will happen to men who bring guns and violence to his town. The story then follows Munny, Ned and the Kid as they track the bandits, but eventually they run afoul of Little Bill and his men. The film ends exactly how you would want it to, with a classic showdown between Eastwood and Hackman.
Unforgiven is a tribute to a dying genre, and it captures the raw and visceral world of the western in a way that the films of Don Siegel and Sergio Leone did. Eastwood dedicated the film to those two men, and it is clear that this film was a dark and violent love letter to western films. The story is not particularly new or innovative, but where this film goes to the next level is the acting. Few westerns boast such a strong, veteran cast, and even the supporting roles are filled by solid performers. Saul Rubinek as the weasely writer, W.W. Beauchamp is of particular note. If you enjoy westerns, Unforgiven is a frank and ugly depiction of a world that has not been delved into this well since 1992.
Things to watch for-
Going to the bathroom can be deadly
When Will starts drinking
Little Bill recounts the gunfight at the Blue Bottle
The Duck of Death
"It's a hell of a thing, killin' a man. You take away all he's got, and all he's ever gonna have."