23 March 2019 | NpMoviez
For me, it is the greatest Revisionist Western ever made. As per Westerns in general, this is my second most favorite Western of all times, the first one being (obviously) "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" (1966). Besides this, this movie is one of the most worthy "Best Picture" recipient as well as one of the most worthy "Best Director" recipient in the history of Academy Awards.
Good : As per Clint Eastwood's direction goes, it could've never been better. In fact, this is the best of Eastwood as a director and one of his bests as an actor, in particular, a Western role. Easily my most favorite Eastwood film. Clint is yet to make a bad Western. He knows how to make Westerns incredible. And in his (supposedly) final Western, both as a director and as an actor, he proves it. This movie has whatever a great Revisionist Western needs. You got some beautiful cinematography of the country side. Perhaps, the most beautiful views of the country side I have ever seen in a Western. All the main characters, William Munny, Ned Logan, Schofield Kid and Little Bill were very good. Little Bill was a very good villain and Will Munny was an incredible lead. Throughout the film, you can see people talking about Will's past time and again. They really helps you to get behind him. You can see the radical changes in him, after all that happened with him in the past 11 years. You can see his compassion and you'll definitely love the way he accepts that he's being evened for all the sins he's committed. And in the entire film, you get to see him feeling guilty for everything and his great transformation. Ned and Schofield Kid provide a very good support to the story, with unique characterizations of their own. Ned is in the same condition as Will is, but doesn't feel too guilty. The kid is just a moron who acts as if he is cool. I am not gonna say anything more about them, but these stuffs are played out very well in the film. Also, Little Bill isn't just your typical bad guy. What he does is pure evil, but he has got his own point of view. He isn't doing the stuff he does because a guy told him to! He did it because he hates assassins and murderers and all the "low lives". Also, he's a badass, and a whole plotline is there to show that. You hate him, but he's not all wrong either. Even we know about Skinny a lot from the first scene he is introduced. He is just a supporting character with a secondary role. Even he doesn't get overshadowed. Alice and Delilah also stand out, too. It wasn't too necessary to the story to point out how humble Delilah was, and the movie would've been completely good, as it didn't really contribute to the story. But that little touch in the character, gave the movie a slightly different and a better vibe. There are some clichéd plot points, but they can be easily given a pass because of the flow and pacing of the story. You get attached to every character in the scene, feel their emotions, feel sad if someone gets killed, horrified when someone is being tortured, and some tension building when Ned and Kid mess with each other. You feel what the characters are feeling, especially William Munny. There are some scenes that are mere plot devices and might have felt quite forced. But Eastwood directed it so cleverly that it doesn't even feel like happening. In the end, the transition to a particular plot device was really smooth and totally unforced. It feels more like a compulsion to the character. Also, notorious and sadistic, or not, the way that moment ends, does feel right. We get the badass Clint Eastwood we have loved from previous Westerns, and an epic line before he kills. Performances - incredible! Clint Eastwood embraces the character of William Munny and gives a powerful performance. Gene Hackman does a complete justice to the character of Little Bill. Jaimz Woolvett and Morgan Freeman give some of the most underrated and overlooked performances of all times. Hell, I can't even stop talking about this movie without praising the jobs of Frances Fisher, Anthony James and Anna Levine in the limited screen time they were given. You'd definitely know it's a great film, when you note that it was one of the inspirations for "Logan" (2017) - a superhero film. Not just a superhero film, but a completely different kind of a film in the X-Men franchise. And Logan itself was an incredible film for most of the part. This movie is one of the great "hero with a guilt" story. You get invested in every scene and every major characterization of the movie. Even the musical score is great and underappreciated. It is one of those rare films which deserves every Oscar it won.
Conclusion : It may not hold up with Sergio Leone's classic Westerns, but is an incredible film in its own right. We get Eastwood being humble and a badass in his final Western role in perhaps the greatest Revisionist Western of all times.
Score : absolute 10/10
Grade : A+