Enzo G. Castellari's 1976 spaghetti western, Keoma, is very much a niche film. It is not a movie for everyone. It is by no means the standard shoot-em-up bang bang western that most audiences might know from the likes of John Wayne and others. This film is much deeper than that. It deals largely in the view of subjugation of others. There is the mistreatment of the people who had been ravaged by the plague. And there is the racist view of Keoma's half brothers towards him because he is half Native American. And of course, his friend George, who is African American, suffers prejudicial views because of the times.
Seeing the way that Caldwell and his gang treat everybody as less than second class citizens (including a pregnant woman who doesn't even have the plague), Keoma serves as society's better half, trying to eliminate that prejudice, albeit through violent means. Simply put, the movie is less Western and more social commentary. On a more simplistic level, while it is a work of social commentary, it's still a western. And it's one that even at nearly two hours long, is still able to keep the audience's attention without being too preachy in its message. That's the most important factor in the grand scheme of things.
By and large, Keoma is not a movie for everyone. It's anything but a happy movie. It's violent and itâ(TM)s very dark in its message. Add on what can only be defined as a more than bittersweet ending, and audiences get a movie that will be difficult for many audiences to digest. On the other end, though, this is one more must for any true student of filmmaking. It offers so much that there is simply not enough time to get into it all. It alone is worth its share of discussions in any college level or higher film studies class. And that is enough to make it a movie not only to be watched, but to be remembered.