Saturday, August 8, 2015
848. UNFORGIVEN (1992)
Running Time: 130 minutes
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Written By: David Webb Peoples
Main Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, Jaimz Woolvett
Click here to view the trailer
THE LAST GREAT WESTERN?
I'm telling you guys I'm really committed to being all said and done by Halloween. I mean, when's the last time you saw me bang out this many reviews, in this short of time. This would make your third review in less than twenty four hours. Therefore, keep scrolling, cause there's likely to be new content below.
William Munny (Eastwood) is a former "rootin' tootin, bad ass, son of a bitch" who, after finding the love of a good woman, has reformed himself - giving up drink, women and killing. The woman is his former wife and at film's beginning, she's been dead for going on three years. Now widower Will struggles to raise two children on a fledgling pig farm. Meanwhile, a prostitute has been attacked by a client, who has left her face cut up, nearly killing her. The other prostitutes get together, pool their money and decide to offer a reward for anyone bringing them the corpses of the cutter and his partner. The prostitutes reside in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, which is sheriffed by "Little" Bill Daggett (Hackman). Little Bill is pretty vicious himself, being quick with a gun and brutal with his punishments. When Bill gets word that the girls are offering reward money, bringing certain death to his doorstep, he's none too happy. Back at the pig farm, Will Munny is approached by The Schofield Kid (Woolvett), who offers to split the $1000 prostitute reward with him, if Munny will tag along and help him bag the cutter. Munny turns down the offer at first, but then changes his mind, riding to the homestead of his former partner, Ned (Freeman) and together, the two catch up to The Kid. Also, there's this whole subplot involving a cowardly gunfighter named English Bob, but I won't even get into that here...perhaps below the spoiler line...
I REALLY didn't get all the English Bob stuff. What was the point of it all? Richard Harris' character didn't even interact with Clint Eastwood's and the whole movie really revolved around Will Munny, making English Bob a complete moot point. I mean, I guess you could make a case that it was to establish Hackman's character as a bad ass, but I think there were other ways of doing so. Speaking of Hackman's character, I think a lot of the appeal of this film lies in the fact that the traditional western roles are reversed. If you listen to the history, Will Munny is a former killer of women & children, yet here he's the hero. On the other hand, the sheriff is the main villain and it's kind of cool how that works out. Whomever had the initial idea to make the killer the hero and the sheriff the bad guy was really on to something. However, I didn't care too much for the execution this go around (I'd seen the film a few times prior) and I'd argue that the Best Picture Oscar that year went to the wrong film (I'd personally have given it to Scent of a Woman, an old favorite of mine, but then again, I've never seen Howards End).
Here's a thought: We're supposed to already know the "old Will Munny" through Eastwood's prior performances. The Will Munny of the past is simply Clint Eastwood as he existed in countless prior westerns, right? However, I'd argue that that's really not true. Did I miss the western where Eastwood played a murderer of women & children? I mean, he usually played the good guy right? Sure, he was a bad ass, but his bad assery was always justified, was it not? Anyway - here comes the thought - what about Eastwood directing one more western someday, a prequel to Unforgiven. You could reverse the roles back to traditional good guy/bad guy, with the Munny character being the villain (hell, have Scott Eastwood play it, if you want) and a new sheriff (not Daggett) playing the good guy. He's a vicious killer, the sheriff is hunting him, yada yada yada. Then in the very end, Munny meets and falls in love with a girl, who becomes his wife and the rest we already know. You'd have to be real careful, which is why I think Eastwood should direct it, or else it could end up like a Nicholas Sparks type thing and that wouldn't be good for business. I'm not saying I'd go see this or anything, I'm just trying to throw Hollywood a free bone, that's all.
In conclusion, I just wasn't THAT thrilled with this. It had some decent elements and I liked the role reversal aspect, but otherwise, this was a pretty standard western and while the genre isn't my favorite, I've seen better. I realized here that Eastwood REALLY wasn't THAT good of an actor. He was alright, I guess, but I didn't care for him here and when I started thinking, "Well what was he really good in?", I had a hard time coming up with anything. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Escape from Alcatraz, but it's certainly not because of his performance or anything, ditto Dirty Harry, ditto The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Hell, even Morgan Freeman didn't turn in anything worth writing home about here and he's usually always fairly decent. However, Hackman, as per usual, was fantastic and earned his Oscar.
RATING: 5.5/10 Close to a '6', but not quite. I really expected this to be a shoo in for the next TOP 20 list, but I had to look at it honestly and honestly, it's not THAT good.
MOVIES WATCHED: 947
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 54
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