Sunday, February 27, 2011

1992: Unforgiven

One night in a Wyoming brothel, two men get angry and disfigure a prostitute's face with a knife.  The police chief, Little Bill Daggett, lets them off with a fine, which prompts the prostitutes to offer a $1,000 reward to whomever kills the two men.  When reformed outlaw Bill Munny, who is a widower supporting two kids, hears of this, he teams up with his former partner and a young wanna-be outlaw to track down these men for the bounty.  But Little Bill Daggett is determined to prevent other people from taking justice into their own hands, by any means necessary.

I was kind of confused by this movie, just because it didn't seem like a Best Picture.  I didn't think it was bad, it just wasn't as good as I thought it would be, since it's on practically every list of best western films ever made.  On the one hand, it's an intriguing commentary on the darkness that is present in everyone, though it manifests itself in different ways.  On the other hand, there is an inordinate amount of swearing, shooting, and beating people up, which I really didn't like.  The character development is pretty good, especially for Munny and Little Bill.  However, I was disappointed with how little screen time was given to Morgan Freeman's character (Munny's partner), and I thought the prostitutes were a little too one-dimensional.  Gene Hackman does a fabulous job in his portrayal of the creepy but still somewhat likeable Little Bill, which won him a deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar.  Clint Eastwood (who plays Munny) and Richard Harris (who plays another man attempting to collect the reward) also gave really good performances.  So there were certainly aspects of this movie that I liked, but overall the story is too dark and disturbing to be enjoyable, and I don't think it was nearly as interesting from a technical standpoint as some of the other distubing Best Picture Winners (such as Silence of the Lambs).

I am eagerly anticipating this evening's Academy Award ceremony, since it will give me another film to watch.  All I can say is I hope The Fighter doesn't win Best Picture because I don't want to have to watch it again (it was really good, but the story was way too painful).  Regardless of which film wins tonight, the next film I'll be blogging about is: Schindler's List (oh, good, a depressing war movie)

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