Clint Eastwood directs, produces and stars in this 1992 Western which won four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. While I personally don’t think it is a great film it is certainly a good film. Eastwood plays William Munny, an ex gunslinger who has put his past behind him to raise his two young children singlehandedly after the death of his wife. Meanwhile in a small town in
, a young prostitute is attacked by a drunken customer. Her fellow prostitutes raise $1,000 as a reward for the person who can kill her attacker. Eastwood is approached by the ‘Schofield Kid’, played by Jaimz Woolvett, who asks Munny to join him on one last ride out. Munny also persuades his old partner Ned Logan, played by Morgan Freeman, to accompany him. Wyoming
|When I think Cowboy, I think Clint Eastwood|
The strength of the film lies in Eastwood’s directing and in the superb acting. Eastwood creates a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere despite the film being set in mostly large open spaces. Eastwood plays Munny with great precision. His looks could kill and his rough voice and tired appearance create a feeling that he is too old for killing but he is capable of turning these perceptions on their head in a matter of seconds with his ability to quick-draw and shoot down anyone who stands in his way. Gene Hackman is also excellent as the Sherriff whose job it is to run Munny and his gang out of town. He is arrogant and sure of himself despite flaws which become apparent as the film unfolds. Frances Fisher is strong as the Madame prostitute behind the $1,000 bounty whereas Morgan Freeman just appears to be along for the ride.
|Beautiful title shot|
Where I feel the film is let down is its length. At 131 minutes long, it feels much longer. I also felt that the character of ‘English Bob’ played by the late Richard Harris was unnecessary and detracted from the main story of the film.
While Unforgiven is now considered to be a classic of the Western genre and although I liked it, I didn’t like it as much as most other people seem to.