Keoma (Django's Great Return) (The Violent Breed) Reviews
Rental at best.
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 it‚(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.
Not only does Keoma have substance, but also style. It's visually superior to most every Italian western. Castellari did something uncharacteristic of himself in the making of Keoma, he put special attention to the craft of filmmaking. All of his other films look poorly produced and sloppy. Here, the cinematography is of Leone quality, but full of atmosphere. The slow motion gun battles are gorgeous enough to impress Peckinpah. The only thing that doesn't work with Keoma is the soundtrack. The suck factor goes up when that chick's voice kicks in.
The life and death symbolism and gothic style make Keoma a great film for repeat viewings. The more you watch, the more you pick up. If I ever made a western, it would look and feel like Keoma.
The soundtrack, though, is awful and really badly used. Its such a shame - this would easily be a five-star Western otherwise, but for pseudo-folk (it sounds like someone doing a bad Buffy St-Marie impression) breaking out every five minutes and telling us exactly what our hero is thinking.
A real shame, because this is a brilliant film otherwise, and its still recommended.