Everything about this Western is top notch. Be it casting, screenplay, locations and photography.
The film is directed by Clint Eastwood and to date is his last western. It has elements of his other western filmography. The man with no name is back but his character William Munny is an older, wiser ex-alcoholic, assassin, looking after two children after the death of his wife.
Other cast members include Morgan Freeman as old sidekick Ned and Gene Hackman as sheriff Little Bill.
How brutal is he?
It got me thinking about just how good an actor Hackman is and how old he must be now.
The lavish photography shows Alberta, Canada at its best doubling for the old West.
I have watched many Westerns mainly old films from the 1930s, 40s and 50s starring the likes of James Stewart and John Wayne.
This 1992 picture beats each one of them.
What makes 'Unforgiven' a cut above the usual western is its dealing with the myths of the Old West, blurring the lines between the usually well divided heroes and villians. This is done largely through the character of W.W. Beauchamp, a writer accompanying and writing the autobiography of famous gunslinger English Bob who himself has come to Big Whisky for the bounty. In one pivotal scene Little Bill de-mystifies the legend of English Bob and in doing so, the wild west myth itself, to Beauchamp with his re-telling of a classic showdown in which English Bob supposedly killed another cowboy who carried two guns.
Winning four of a nominated nine Oscars aswell as receiving many more nominations and awards around the world 'Unforgiven' is the perfect western, many years after the genres heyday. Eastwood's direction is solid through-out and writer David Webb People's script tells a complex and delicate story with all the classic touches and nods to the genre aswell as commenting on the mythology behind an exaggerated and glamourised time in American history.
[Spoiler] [/ spoiler]: I rarely comment on the film giving spolier, but the final scene can actually be quite jarring climate of the film, perhaps Willian (Clint) have to have died, but kill the unnamed man is like killing Superman, Rocky or Batman. The character is an icon, almost a superhero, kill him, it would be like to kill Clint himself, so the director (Clint Eastwood himself) opts for a redemption, not a death.
[Spoiler] [/ spoiler] Another point to be discussed is a movie western to where no one pulls the gun and kills 20 people with the eye closed, but a killer who can not kill another killer who never killed and has problems vision and one that has visions of death and can barely get on the horse, and Sheriff claims to love the law and hate killers, beating people who believes to be criminal, are real cowboys, humans, this point of unforgivable is incredible.
[Spoiler] [/ spoiler] And the personal drama of the character played by Clint Eastwood is a counterpoint to his character's past, who killed, robbed, only saw the money, he tries to redeem the past and almost 30 years later, the man nameless goodbye.
Not only is it beautifully shot and masterfully acted, it explores the questions:
Can a person will-away their wicked nature?
How does a person bring good to the world for being what they cannot help but be?
Is there justice or redemption in BEING unjust TO the unjust? Is there justice at all in a Godless world?
If you can't appreciate this film, consider yourself Un