15 October 2003 | Pavel-8
A classic in every aspect.
"For a Few Dollars More" is the middle film of Sergio Leone's classic western trilogy starring a then upstart Clint Eastwood. Sandwiched between "A Fistful of Dollars" and the finale, "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly." This film provides further insight into Eastwood's "Man with No Name."
Eastwood is a bounty killer who is in search of the feared bandit known as El Indio. Colonel Douglas Mortimer (played by Lee Van Cleef) is in a similar position, and the two cross paths many times in their pursuits of El Indio. The premise has similarities to that of the first, and in fact won't be all that surprising to most younger viewers. But at the time, the various plot turns and twists were unique and revolutionary.
The pace is both a pro and con at the same time. Unlike modern films, the usual western showdown scenes unfold very deliberately. Rather than simultaneously begin and end in a furious volley of bullets, the encounters are set up slowly. On the bright side, this gives both the characters and the viewers an opportunity to fully appreciate the choices made and the consequences that will follow. From a negative perspective (not mine), one might say that the gunfights are plain slow, and the action is too sparse. While I enjoyed the change of pace, I also understand why some will say otherwise. Others portions of "More" can hang with any western sequences ever put on film. Highlighting the action is a robbery scene, the creativity of which ranks with any modern heist out of "The Score" or "The Italian Job."
This trilogy catapulted Clint Eastwood to Hollywood fame, and one can see his star-making charisma ooze through the screen. Blending stoicism and machismo wonderfully, Eastwood produces the epitome of the tough and arrogant loner cowboy. In a role that could easily have been overshadowed, Van Cleef holds his own against Eastwood. His character was probably similar to Eastwood's in his youth, but Van Cleef accurately reflects the wisdom that would likely come with his character's age. The motley crew of baddies is filled with men who completely look their parts. That's about all that is asked of them, and they deliver.
The cinematography of "More" follows in the groundbreaking footsteps of "Fistful." While one might not notice anything revolutionary now, at the time shots like that had scarcely been seen. Shots like the low-angles utilized prior to a few shootouts, as well as the framing of space are all now staples of cinematic westerns, and they originated here.
Ennio Morricone's score is also a classic. Whether serving as epic background music for sweeping crane shots or providing aural cues during action sequences, the music is always appropriate and often the best part of the film.
Bottom Line: While it might not seem as great now, so much of this movie was groundbreaking and remains classic that it merits 8 of 10.