Showing 1 - 1 of 1 Reviews for A Fistful of Dynamite (Duck, You Sucker) (Gił la testa)
Posted on 5/22/08 10:15 AM
Leone's fifth and final Western is probably the least representative of his signature style, but is still a solid entry in the filmography of one of cinema's most influencial directors. Leone trades tales of gunslingers and the Old West for the backdrop of a revelution-era Mexico. This is the only film in which the "Man With No Name" does not appear; instead, the story focuses on a Mexican peasant/outlaw and an Irish revelutionary. Steiger is a natural in his role as Juan, and Coburn brings a sense of distinction to the movie as the former member of the IRA. The cinematography is excellent as it is so with all of Leone's films. Morricone's score is not one of his best in my opinion and often clashes with the emotions onscreen instead of highlighting them. The action is the most intense and graphic of the spaghetti westerns, further raising the bar set by Leone himself with Fistful of Dollars. Contains plenty of Leone's signature touches, such as closeups and flashbacks, but to a lesser degree than his other films. Overall, the production values are solid and the story is fairly compelling. However, the major reason this film works is Leone's reliance on the emotion of his lead characters instead of the classic style greater exhibited in his other westerns.
The story of Juan and his struggle to raise his children in a society that preys upon the poor and Sean's life as a revelutionary provide the heart of the film. Steiger is so believeable as a Mexican national that you can't help but feel for his situation and even understand why he turns to crime to make a living. Leone uses flashbacks to give more depth to James Coburn's character, revealing to the audience that the terrorist and revelutionary once lived a peaceful, happy life in his home country. As the story unfolds, the characters grow with each explosion and death, leading to a climax where they both come to terms with their natures. The mix of social/political commentary, character development and violence sometimes feels a bit uneven, but in the end, the film leaves a resounding impact intellectually and emotionally that is surpassed only by Leone's masterpiece Once Upon a Time in the West. Duck, You Sucker has its flaws, such as the pace of the storytelling and the somtimes bothersome score, but the film succeeds overall through its lead characters and their journey together.