Monday, June 7, 2010

Unforgiven (1992)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman & Richard Harris

More Info: IMDB

Plot: Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

My Rating: 10/10

Would I watch it again? and again, and again, and again...

I absolutely LOVE this film. I remember seeing this in a near empty theater in the small town I attended college and I was blown away. I figured if a western ever stood a chance at winning a 'best picture' Oscar, this was it...and it did. It's a remarkably dark contrast to most other westerns, even the ones that are more cynical than others. UNFORGIVEN feels like this is closer to how the Old West was than most pictures. It feels genuine.

The performances are absolutely top notch. What a magnificent cast all the way down to the the bit players with no dialogue. Not only are the actors themselves excellent, it's their faces. I'm a big fan of casting faces, and not that pretty phony Hollywood kind of shit. I'm talkin' faces that feel like they've lived in that world, that they're born of their experiences.

Great score by Eastwood and Lennie Niehaus. It's underplayed and pitch perfect. The camerawork, set design, everything clicks. It's flawless. The scene before the big, gloomy finish, where Eastwood tells the kid about killing is incredible.

"It's a helluva thing killin' a man. You take away all he's got...and all he's ever gonna have."

Brilliant. And this coming from one of the most brutal killers of the West. He says it with sadness but at the same time you can only speculate if he's feeling any regret or not. He seems like a man reformed but then he's got one last thing to do before he says goodbye to that side of him.

It's a truly remarkable piece of work, one that despite having seen at least a dozen times, never tires and never diminishes. I look forward to each visit as it really feels like I'm stepping back into a time and place that have long since passed.

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