Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Bill McKinney, John Vernon, Paula Trueman, Sam Bottoms, Geraldine Kearns, Woodrow Parfrey, Sondra Locke, Joyce Jameson, Sheb Wooley, Will Sampson, John Mitchum

More info: IMDb

Tagline: army of one.

Plot: Josey Wales is a Southerner whose entire family were killed by a sadistic Union officer. He joins a band of guerrilla fighters who manage to avoid being captured. After the end of the war, they refuse to surrender, but their leader, Fletcher, negotiates a surrender allowing his men amnesty. Josey, however, refuses to join them. After his men arrive, they're executed. But when they learn that Josey is still out there, they order him hunted down and the man they send to get him is the man who killed his family. He eventually runs into a group of settlers and helps them get settled and negotiates a peaceful co-existence with the Indians. But he has a price on his head and every bounty hunter is out of get it.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? Of course.

No matter how long it's been since I last saw this, it's too long.  What a great flick.  I love the concise opening set-up and the of the credit sequence that fills in a long stretch of time and killing refinement. Then the movie starts proper and it's action and oodles of character development.  It's a remarkable picture in that this isn't just about revenge.  The character arc of Wales is fantastic.  I love his gradual unintentional creation of a family by the end of the picture.  I also love his great dialogue and skill at killin' folks.  Eastwood is nothing short of an amazing film maker.

How about Chief Dan George, huh?  This guy is a piece of work.  He delivers his lines with a heartfelt humor that you just don't see in movies.  That he wasn't a polished actor works in his and the film's favor.  He's wonderful and he's my favorite aspect of the picture.  Eastwood did a magnificent job with this film and there are so many genre-bending things he accomplished with it.  This is a guy that really wanted to say something in his Westerns.  Take a look at his Western output in the 70s alone and you can see how each of them is thematically different. He wasn't just making entertainment but they're fun as hell on top of all of that.

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