11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A perfect western masterpiece,
This review is from: Unforgiven (Snap Case) (DVD)
This is great filmmaking. The acting of Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, Richard Harris and Clint Eastwood is as good as these four greats can get and they are supported by a highly dedicated cast. The screenplay is perfectly written with as much memorable dialogue as some of the greatest films ever made. Quite simply, this is one of the greatest films ever made.
The entire film draws a clear definition of William Munney as perhaps the evilest man to ever live and what we the audience sees is a person we can relate to on many levels. In Eastwood's character we see our own darkest sides, our own mistakes and the unintended consequences that unknowingly follow our decisions.
At the beginning we see a struggling man looking to avoid the ways of his past, something which he may have seen as the easy road at the time but now is or has been in his self administered rehabilitation with his farm and his children. Here the struggle may be too much to handle and he justifies his decision in returning to his old ways to make it through the impoverished times that have followed his wife's death. The psychology is not obvious in this film but runs far deeper than most films by a mile. We set the stage to see an efficient assassin that has turned around return to the world he did everything to avoid, and return he does.
The most incredible dynamic here is that Munney is the clear villain in perspective, but that Hollywood cliche is more blurred here than any other movie I have ever seen (even the Godfather). The man we essentially find ourselves rooting against (Hackman) is a man of the law but ironically we find ourselves caring for the killer played by Eastwood. He is an anti-hero in which we must question our justification in liking him. The idea of revenge seems as natural as breathing in this setting, so we cheer as this killer steps onto his stage one last time to show his would be contenders who is the baddest cowboy of them all. It is what Westerns are all about.
In addition, the film appreciates the beautiful North American landscapes like very few films do and does so with brilliant artistic photography and the soundtrack's emotional one string notes add to the raw style of the film. Eastwood's direction suggests a man who truly loves the Western and he is the king of that genre...sorry Duke.