copyright © Jedo Dre 2011
Every now and then you come across a film that you watch and at the end your jaw just drops and sits there in awe of what you just experienced. This is one such film.
The story is not deep. A guy does some damage to a prostitute, which goes insufficiently punished and brings on the bounty that some people try to collect. The story is not that central to the movie, it is more like the canvas upon which the characters are painted and this movie is all about them.
I wonder what if anyone else could have directed Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris besides Clint Eastwood himself. Well, either way, he did a hell of a job because this one of the best acted movies of all time. If acting was food, this would be a yummy cake made by angels, which only makes you want to eat more of it the more you eat it. Even the extras in this film are also really good, all of them.
It is not just the actors but the characters they play that makes this film really interesting. Unofrgiven is the Western for the modern age with an accent on gritty realism. There is no hero or villain in a traditional sense. It is not about who can shoot well and therefore call themselves cool. Characters are not archetypes but people with realistic behavior and depth of character, with their own special quirks and weaknesses, especially the weaknesses. In fact, people's weaknesses is a theme this movie explores a lot: and strengths and how neither of those are what they may seem.
The acting is great, the characters are great and the dialogue for them is great. The film has a few memorable quotes for the ages.
My only issue is that Richard Harris does not get nearly enough screen time. He plays a clean guy with British civility on the outside and a deadly criminal core on the inside. The movie spends some time developing this character and in the end the guys does not do anything and is sent away shortly after his appearance.
There is something really freeing about watching a movie like this where there are no bad or good guys but characters. Something about everyone just being human is just makes it easier.
The movie is excellently shot. Being a western, it takes you to the pretty outdoors: the grassy plains and the snowy highlands. It feels quite cold and sobering. Having said that, there is nothing particularly innovative about the way it is shot, just good old quality and sense brought in by the experienced Eastwood.
As for music, there is not much of it. There is some tension music, but the one memorable tune is a heartfelt central theme consisting of a lonesome guitar tune in memory of a character's dead wife.
In short, I cannot find any real flaws about this film. This is rightfully seen by
many as one of the greatest movies of all time and is highly re-
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