Unforgiven (1992)

unforgiven_1992_poster
Unforgiven (1992)
  • Time: 131 min
  • Genre: Western
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Cast: Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, Gene Hackman

Storyline:

The town of Big Whisky is full of normal people trying to lead quiet lives. Cowboys try to make a living. Sheriff ‘Little Bill’ tries to build a house and keep a heavy-handed order. The town whores just try to get by.Then a couple of cowboys cut up a whore. Dissatisfied with Bill’s justice, the prostitutes put a bounty on the cowboys. The bounty attracts a young gun billing himself as ‘The Schofield Kid’, and aging killer William Munny. Munny reformed for his young wife, and has been raising crops and two children in peace. But his wife is gone. Farm life is hard. And Munny is no good at it. So he calls his old partner Ned, saddles his ornery nag, and rides off to kill one more time, blurring the lines between heroism and villainy, man and myth.

One review

  • With ‘Unforgiven’ Eastwood bids farewell to the Western genre and how does he do it? With a bang, by making what has become one of the finest films of its genre. Yet, ‘Unforgiven’ is much more than a Western film.

    There are plenty of subtle layers and while it has all the ‘Western’ ingredients it goes against formula by portraying more depth in both story and character. These men were killers but no formulaic hero. They did experience fear, confusion, doubt and sometimes were even sloppy in aiming their targets. It also shows what killing does to the killer. For example, The Schofield Kid initially sees it as something cool and heroic and he looks up to Munny but once he has blood on his hands, the burden of it sinks in and he would rather be ‘blind and in rags’. Meanwhile, we also see Munny struggling not to go back, not to give in to temptation in order to honour his wife’s memory but at the same time worry about how to provide for his children. Then there’s Ned Logan who joins Munny to provide support but once they’re on the mountains, he hesitates and backs out because he did not want to return to that. ‘Unforgiven’ allows the viewer to sympathize for both the killer and the dead.

    Eastwood finally gives solace to David Webb Peoples’s long ignored screenplay. The dialogues are simple yet deeply philosophical and lyrical. The film does not move at the usual fast pace but that works in its favour and allows the viewer to enjoy the captivating landscape while accompany the three men on their mission. The subtle cinematography and score also work beautifully.

    All the performances are topnotch. Eastwood and Hackman perform with all guns blazing. Hackman always has managed to successfully play the villain and here he alters from being easy-going to cold-blooded and keep the viewer in suspense with his unpredictability. While on the one hand we want Eastwood’s Munny to go back to his kids but at the same time kill the scum who cut the woman. He handles his scenes very well and then in the end the viewer finally sees that ruthless frightening killer rise to kill. Of the supporting cast, Richard Harris provides interesting comic relief, Jaimz Woolvett does a wonderful job as the Kid and Frances Fisher has a strong presence as the protective ‘leader’.

    ‘Unforgiven’ is simply a remarkable watch and this is not only restricted to lovers of western films. Eastwood has since made different kinds of cinema and has done a superb job especially with his recent movies. If he were to make another western today then I’ll be ready to go and see it.

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