Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny (Clint Eastwood) reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and a young man, The "Schofield Kid" (Jaimz Woolvett).
After escaping death by the skin of her teeth, the horribly disfigured prostitute, Delilah Fitzgerald, and her appalled and equally furious co-workers summon up the courage to seek retribution in 1880s Wyoming's dangerous town of Big Whiskey. With a hefty bounty on the perpetrators' heads, triggered by the tough Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett's insufficient sense of justice, the infamous former outlaw and now destitute Kansas hog farmer, William Munny, embarks on a murderous last mission to find the men behind the hideous crime. Along with his old partner-in-crime, Ned Logan, and the brash but inexperienced young gunman, the "Schofield Kid", Munny enters a perilous world he has renounced many years ago, knowing that he walks right into a deadly trap; however, he still needs to find a way to raise his motherless children. Now, blood demands blood. Who is the hero, and who is the villain?Written by
Ranked number four on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Western" in June 2008. See more »
When seen from far away, it's obvious that the town of Big Whisky is tiny, with fewer than a dozen buildings. It is in the middle of nowhere. Yet the town has a sheriff with four or five deputies, most on duty at the same time. See more »
At the end of the credits, there is caption reading, "Dedicated to Sergio and Don". This is a reference to late directors Sergio Leone (who directed Clint Eastwood in the Dollars trilogy) and Don Siegel (who directed Eastwood in Dirty Harry and Escape from Alcatraz). See more »
There may never be another real western. Clint appears to be done with the genre and there really isn't anyone else I can think of that can do it Properly. Sergio Leone is gone. William Wellman is gone. Sam Peckinpah is gone. John Huston is gone. John Ford is gone. Howard Hawks is gone.
Kevin Costner tries hard but he just doesn't get it. Dances With Wolves wasn't really a western. It wasn't even an anti-western. It was more like a political indictment of the actions of the Americans of the time. For all that I did enjoy it.
Most of the others since Unforgiven are movies where somebody decides to put the characters on a horse, but the story is just generic pap. Nobody has the balls to make something with a meaning.
I will grant that Deadwood is a truly excellent series but it isn't a movie.
That's why I believe that Unforgiven is a fitting end to the western genre. I won't get all rhapsodic and spout a bunch of crap about how Clint made this movie as a symbol of the end of the western. Cuz that's a load of crap. The script had been around since the early 70s when things were still going strong. What it is, is a movie that shows us that there is no black and white in any time. There are only shades of grey.
It is also just as dirty and violent as things actually were for most people in that era. Life was comparatively cheap and most people didn't have much hope of justice. The middle class was very small and the upper class was tiny. The vast majority belonged to the under-classes.
Good guys didn't wear white hats and not every sheriff was a good guy. Some were violent and corrupt braggarts and bullies. Little Bill mocks English Bob's self-promotion, but at the same time he knocks Bob down he builds himself up. He doesn't bother with courts or judges and he is his own executioner. He isn't motivated by any innate sense of justice when he deals with any criminal elements. It's more that he takes it as an insult to his own power.
William Munny is a killer, plain and simple. He has human feelings but basically he is unrepentant. He changed for his wife, but like many changes it wasn't permanent. He won't sleep with a whore but when he needs money he is willing to kill for it. At the same time he treats the whore with kindness and is loyal to his friend. And somehow he managed to get a good woman to love him. A classic anti-hero.
Rather than being about the end of the Western genre I believe that it is actually an ode to what came before it. Sergio Leone would have been proud.
180 of 211 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this