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Franco Nero (DJANGO, THE FIFTH CORD) is KEOMA, a half-breed gunfighter weary of killing as a way of life. But when he returns to his troubled childhood home, Keoma is caught in a savage battle between innocent settlers, sadistic bandits and his vengeful half-brothers. In a wasteland gone mad with rage and pain, can one man massacre his way to redemption?
KEOMA is an extraordinary combination of potent symbolism, powerful performances and relentless violence, brilliantly directed by Enzo G. Castellari (STREET LAW, THE BIG RACKET). Woody Strode (ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST), William Berger (DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN) and Olga Karlatos (ZOMBIE) co-star in this one-of-a-kind classic that fans and critics consider to be one of the greatest 'Spaghetti Westerns' of all time.
"A REAL WESTERN MASTERPIECE!" -- Western All' Italiana
- Audio Commentary with Director Enzo G. Castellari and Journalist Waylon Wahl
- "Keoma: Legends Never Die" - Interview with Star Franco Nero
- Theatrical Trailer
- Talent Bios
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So, back to the film itself. Present are violence, cruelty, a lone vengeful wanderer; ya know, a Spaghetti Western (SW). If you've seen many of these, you'll recognize the themes right away. There are some elements though that are not so typical in Italian Westerns.
An element present in Keoma that you may notice right away is the use of a technique pioneered by the great Sam Peckinpah; slow motion, graceful, violence. Characters who are shot twist and fall dramatically, often into puddles, over railings, or through walls. Flashbacks are treated uniquley too. Keoma's present-day self is physically present in his flashbacks seemingly an invisible observer to characters in the scene. It's an interesting effect and actually works quite well. Another element present not used in many Italian Westerns is the Mega-Mullet, which the always enjoyable Franco Nero sports to the fullest. It is unbelievable. You will want to touch it. Did I mention the soundtrack? So yeah, it's really not so typical for an SW; you definitely wont mistake it for Ennio Morricone. There is a witch too, but she's not really fleshed out much.
The widescreen print is fairly clean and bright throughout, though the colors arent necessarily vivid (but maybe they werent to begin with). There is an interview with Franco Nero and a theatrical trailer on the disc as well. Overall, the is another nice package from Anchor Bay.
One last side-note on the package: boy-oh-boy are the covers on these Anchor Bay Spagheti Westerns ever unattractive! They look like the dull, muddy, Photoshop work of a highschooler; an afterthought rather than the first impression that they are. It probably wont bother most viewers though. I just wish that Anchor Bay would've taken a que from Wild East and used elements from the original theatrical posters if they cant create attractive new graphics for the package.
A lot of the lesser known spaghetti westerns have fair to poor quality for their dvd transfers, this one has very good quality.
The film itself is surprisingly good. Nero's thick accent is a strength here, portraying an outcast half-breed. The improvisational aspect of the script (the director supposedly did not like the script and they apparently would sit around the evening after filming and write the next day's lines) shows a bit, creating a couple slightly 'off' scenes here and there which do not really affect the film overall, but I will say the final line is horrible, in my opinion.
The weakest aspect of the film is the soundtrack. This movie could be over the top good with a Morricone soundtrack. The ballads are supposed to be narrative, but they are......highly irritating. There are those people that like the soundtrack, more power to those who don't wince when the songs start. Fortunately when they do start singing, it's almost always a long, dialogue free section that can easily be fast-forwarded through.
The cast is strong, and the cinematography excellent. There are some very unique visuals, solid editing, and some nice sound-work. A gem of a movie to find for under $10.
Everything is simple: the story line (they started filming without script in their hands!), the actors, camera work, but the overall result gives something different than a simple bang-bang movie. One has to watch it first to understand. This is a metaphorical expression of life and death which requires some brain work from a watcher. And from listener too! The music/songs are indivisible from the movie (as it was planned to be). The vocal is nervous, yes, but such is the film, and our life, in fact. It does not leave a listener indifferent, it captures, it tells the story, it leads from the beginning to the end.
The only disadvantage is that the movie is in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, but I forgot about it at all by the middle of the movie. Since ther is (was?) no other choice, I decided not to lower my rating down to 4 stars.
The picture quality is, I believe, the best possible for the moment, because Blue Underground would make it better if they had a chance. I hope it is so.
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