Released 1992 (USA)
American, in English
Director – Clint Eastwood
Stars – Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Jaimz Woolvett
Set in 1880s Wild West. The promise of a big payday lures retired gunslinger William Munny (Eastwood) away from his pig farm to make one last kill. Freeman co-stars as Munny’s best friend, and former partner, Ned Logan; Hackman as the vicious sheriff they run afoul of, Little Bill Daggett; and Woolvett as the young greenhorn who brings Munny out of retirement, “The Schofield Kid.”
Graphic violence. Lots of blue language. Non-graphic sex scene (no nudity).
Slow and plodding.
At the beginning of the film, the language seemed oddly stiff. I found it distracting. I don’t know if it got better as the film went along or if I got used to it.
Hackman was delightfully, intensely terrifying. In theory, he’s the good guy and he was scarier than anybody else in the film. Loved Richard Harris’s somewhat brief turn as English Bob, especially his rant in regards to having a queen versus having a president. I’m also always happy to see Saul Rubinek on my screen, in this case as dime novelist W.W. Beauchamp.
The best part is the realism. A man isn’t going to come out of 11 years of retirement and immediately be a BAMF again. His aim is going to be off. His horse, no longer used to being saddled, isn’t going to be especially cooperative in that regard. Sleeping on the ground at any age is no fun, but in your 50s or 60s it’s really going to suck. Kudos to the film for showing these things but not making a big deal out of them. I enjoy subtlety.
I think it’s time to finally admit to myself that I just don’t like Westerns very much. I understand that this is supposed to be one of the really good ones but I don’t get the love. I thought it was dull. There Gene Hackman is, kicking the crap out of somebody, and I’m eyeing my phone, considering playing a game or two because I’m really bored (after all, it’s the second time he’s kicked the crap out of somebody; I kind of got the point the first time).
I did enjoy a lot of the underlying themes of the film: confronting one’s past, discovering one’s true nature, dealing with regrets, etc. Those are all things that are very relatable. Just because it’s relatable, however, doesn’t mean that it was presented in a way that I was able to connect with. I don’t think it’s a terrible film. Like The Silence of the Lambs, this movie just wasn’t my thing. Since it was much duller than Lambs, it’s getting a lower rating.
I give the film 3.25 stars.