Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Unforgiven


Poster image from Wikipedia
It must be Clint Eastwood week over at HBO -- then again, Clint has done so many fine films he'll always have some movie or other showing at various months. This week brought two treats: "Space Cowboys" and "Unforgiven." While "Space Cowboys" was worth a repeat viewing, what with the stellar cast of affable geriatrics, it was really "Unforgiven" I was looking forward to watching.

As I read it, it took almost twenty years for "Unforgiven" to reach the big screen. Clint Eastwood had the rights to the script but sat on it as his script reader told him it wasn't very good. Not surprising, considering that the story itself is very simple. It's out of the mold of the typical Hollywood Western.

But I think it really took that length of time for Clint Eastwood to mature into the role. I doubt if anyone else could have pulled it off as well as he did. It's like waiting for wine to come of age. And that it did for Clint.

This is Clint's last Western, a perfect ending for the stellar career in the genre. Where do gunfighters go when they get old? Do they fade into the sunset? Do they ever escape the life of violence? The script is middling, the plot device of the bounty somewhat unbelievable, but Clint, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman (and a lengthy cameo by the late Richard Harris) all manage to give it life.

Next, I want to see Jonah Hex on the big screen.