Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Not only the ultimate western,but the finest movie ever made. Not even close.
Sergio Leone's epic saga is an entertaining and well shot adventure that is unfortunately dragged down by plot-convolution and more than a healthy dose of misogyny. The plot, on paper, is a basic one about a rich outlaw, Frank (Henry Ford), killing and conniving to get thirty-something acres of land that crosses the path of the planned railroad line. In walks nameless Charles Bronson, who is after Frank for immediately unknown reasons. There are other characters, including French bombshell Claudia Cardinale as the freshly-married-then-widowed Jill, who is the rightful owner of the property in question. Jason Robards steals the show as the outlaw-with-a-heart-of-gold, Manuel "Cheyenne" (oof) Gutierrez.
While beautiful to watch and is ultimately entertaining, the movie runs into moments where it's trying to be too edgy, specifically putting Jill into situations where she's being controlled by men that don't necessarily make sense. The performances are not bad - Bronson is Bronson - but a couple of hard tonal shifts left me scratching my head and wondering why they were included.
The plot is meaty, and the twist and explanations delivered smoothly. The lesson is a hard one about the West, and the intentions of men that does translate well to today. Leone was a master of showing and not telling, while implementing strong cinematic shots and styles into his delivery. I'm glad I finally watched this film, but I understand why it's not talked about more.
My grade: C
Disappointing and took so long to verify that it would remain disappointing.
Sergio Leon has probably made the best western movie, and surely one of the best movies ever made
A friend recommended this as "the best thing on Netflix". I think my friend was smoking some serious stuff. This thing comes in at 2 hrs 46 minutes and it was fully an HOUR before I had ANY sense of a plot. I should have been warned when I saw that Bernardo Bertolucci co-wrote the script. Loooonnnggg, lingering closeups (complete sometimes with jerky camera work), repeated screen-filling faces, back and forth. A dearth of dialogue that MIGHT help explain something (total script was probably 5 pages). Watching this one was like trying to run underwater. I was thinking, several times, that both the director and the cinematographer must have been on downers during filming.
And, of course, the obligatory sexist casting. Woman as whore (or bread-baker, take your choice). It was refreshing, I guess, to see Henry Fonda as a bad guy and Charles Bronson as a good guy. I'm guessing this was all a warm-up for Leone's other ones, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Chalk this one up as, at least, the last of the three.
Despite its excessive runtime, it's entertaining, exciting and interesting to watch, and with its stylish visuals, impressive production values, talented cast, a formidable soundtrack from Ennio Morricone, and a compelling direction from Sergio Leone, this epic spaghetti Western is undeniably a masterpiece and a landmark in filmmaking.
Once is such a unique treatment of ole western movies. The directing creates continual anticipation of what will come next with the long pauses in action and camera shots. The scenes are so incredibly believable. Same with the costumes, makeup, et al. Long running time of 165 minutes. But, the desired results are maximum.
There were a few issues for sure with the movie, but I think that if one takes it as a whole things like the pacing are just right. It is a western befitting of Sergio Leone and Enio Morricone.
This is by far, the best Sergio Leone western, even better than the trilogy with the Man with No Name (Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). It is one of best westerns ever made. I've watched this movie over 20 times and still love it. Henry Fonda surprises us by being such a vicious villain in this movie -- who would have guessed Henry Fonda would play such a wicked villain, after playing heroes in movies such as My Darling Clementine and 12 Angry Men? This is a great western classic! Highly recommended!
Absolute Masterpiece! One of the best Westerns of all time. This film is still one of the best westerns I've seen, The setting, the score, the cast and the dialogue is on point. Henry Fonda playing against type as a Villain (funny enough this was the first film I ever saw him in) and Charles Bronson being Charles Bronson.