Showing 1 - 1 of 1 Reviews for A Fistful of Dynamite (Duck, You Sucker) (Gił la testa)
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Posted on 6/23/11 02:19 PM
This film starts off in the most peculiar, intriguing way: one of the main protagonist, Juan Miranda, is taking a leak into an ant hill. I find it intriguing in the sense that I'm trying my earnest to understand the symbolism behind such a, for a lack of better words, idiosyncratic opening. Is there any symbolism behind seeing a man flush out his bodily fluids into an ant hill? Probably not. Am I over thinking such a scene? Most likely, I have been known to over analyze films. But, nonetheless, this is how master filmmaker Sergio Leone starts the second chapter of his 'One Upon a Time' trilogy.
The film takes place during the Mexican Revolution, one of the bloodiest chapters of Mexican history, in which Juan Miranda, a simple bandit, is duped by explosives expert, John Mallory, into becoming involved with the revolution. Probably in one of the most hilarious games of cat and mouse captured in screen, Juan relentlessly tries to convince John to help him break into the national bank of Mesa Verde through intimidation. But, as it turns out, it is John who manipulates and tricks Juan into being involved and inadvertently, becoming a folklore hero of the revolution. So begins the adventures of both Johns during the Mexican revolution.
Unlike his previous film, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, I found this film to be far more emotionally resonant and desolate, which is even more prominent in his last film, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. There isn't a moment of certain happiness, every scene of victory is shortly followed by a hovering sense of despair and death. Although graphic violence is a common signature of Leone's films, for the first time the violence isn't as humorous, as it was in his Dollars Trilogy, for in this film the violence has consequences. For example, after the victory at the battle of Mesa Verde Juan is praised as hero, but subsequently, after the battle, the rebels are betrayed by one of their own, resulting in the slaughter of Juan's entire family. Violence begets more violence, violence isn't as tongue-in-cheek, rather it is consequential and emotionally reckoning.
Sergio Leone's films have always been deeply layered, with much emotional, symbolic and narrative depth. DUCK, YOU SUCKER or A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE or ONCE UPON A TIME...THE REVOLUTION, or whatever title you prefer to recognize this film by, is no different. It is an exploration of the nature of war, violence, trust, honor, betrayal and friendship. There are just so many different angles from which this film can be seen from. Is it an entertaining spaghetti western? Yes, definitely, but is also epic in scale and emotionally driven as well. The only negative aspect about the film is that it is Sergio Leone's most overlooked masterpieces.