Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Unforgiven (1992)

Clint Eastwood (Non-Spaghetti) Western #5

Synopsis: Reformed gunslinger returns to commit murder and mayhem… but this time he’s doing it for the kids!

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Big trouble is coming to Big Whiskey.”

What Did I Learn?: Ladies, it’s never a good idea to giggle when you glance at your boyfriend’s dick.

Really?: 1) So wait – Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) is the only black character in this movie and nobody once throws a racial slur his way, even when Little Bill horsewhips him? 2) I had a hard time believing Little Bill would provide a prisoner (even a relatively harmless one like Beauchamp) with a loaded pistol, or let alone encourage Beauchamp to hand it to English Bob.

Rating: Unforgiven is undoubtedly one of Clint Eastwood’s best films: the story is raw and powerful, the performances are quite good (Hackman shines as the sadistic-yet-not-quite-villainous sheriff Little Bill), and the ending is truly suspenseful. Moreover, I like Eastwood’s morally-ambiguous deconstruction of the Western myth (told through Munney’s conversations with Ned and the kid, and Little Bill’s lectures to Beauchamp) and his subtle digs at John Wayne's larger-than-life movie image. The film’s only flaws are that it’s very slow-moving, and incredibly bleak – by the end, the audience isn’t entirely sure what to think of William Munney, Little Bill, or any of the other characters. Highly recommended. 9/10 stars.

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