Sunday, 25 July 2010

The much awaited Western update

I realise I wrote about my new found fondness of the Western genre a whole 2 weeks ago, but didn't follow it up with anything. This was partly laziness, and partly because it wasn't very interesting. Needless to say, I have been watching westerns like a massive sex pest who's just discovered Internet pornography. Here is a summary of the things I've learnt:

Shane (1953) - It might seem quite shallow to select a film because one of your favourite comedians briefly mentions it in one of his stand up's, but that was the reasoning behind watching Shane. The film tells the story of weary gunslinger who attempts to leave his shady past by settling down on a family ranch, but is forced to face local tormentors. From the golden age of Hollywood westerns, it doesn't disappoint on good ol' fashioned Western sensibilities: dramatic gun draws, bar room brawls, and annoying little farm kids. I was actually surprised at how violent the film was, considering most other 50s Hollywood films are comparatively very tame. I think the words 'enjoyable romp' spring to mind, but it probably deserves more kudos for it's ability to entertain a young movie cretin 60 years on.

Jack Palance: one bad mother f*cker.

Unforgiven (1992) - I must admit, Eastwood has become a bit of a hero of mine recently. Even though most people giggled in the cinema when Clint was taking down LA gangs in 2008's Gran Torino, I couldn't help but hope I would be that awesome at 78. But it wasn't until I saw Unforgiven that it really sealed the deal. Brilliantly directed, perfectly acted; this film is a classic in every sense of the word. Far superior to the somewhat dull Leone films of the 70s, this slow brooding redemption story is an absolute joy. Think it might even get a highly coveted place in my top 5 movies of ALL TIME. *shock face*

Clinty, where have you been all my life?

3:10 to Yuma (2007): I was originally going to write about the The Proposition but David Wenham's voice annoys me so much that I couldn't bear to recommend that film (although it is very good). Luckily, 3:10 is also very good, as Bale once again proves he can pretty much play any role under the sun. What does let the film down, however, is the stupidity of a certain character.... MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT, PLEASE AVOID THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM....

So after Bale and Crowe have run through a village full of about 50 gun wielding maniacs and amazingly manage to escape unscathed, Bale gets Crowe on the train. Does he run? Does he duck for cover? No! He stands there looking up at Crowe with his silly gormless face, well in the knowledge that there are 5 deadly assassins behind him. Maybe it shows the quality of the writing that I cared so much at why this character had to die. Or maybe it just cheats the audience into a bigger emotional reaction to have the hero fall at the last hurdle (and incidentally, the smallest hurdle).

Maybe you should, I don't know, RUN FOR COVER OR SOMETHING.

Anyway, 8/10. Plus Ben Foster should play more camp bad guys in future.

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