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“Unforgiven” gets good review

March 2, 2011

By Dillon Sutherland, Staff Writer

Unforgiven is a western made in 1992, that took the prize of Best Picture at the Academy Awards.  It is not difficult to see why either.  As westerns slowly began to lose some of their popularity going into the ‘90s, this film made a large impact.  I think it is the most important western on the last 20 years.

The film follows Will Munney, played by Clint Eastwood, as an aged outlaw and killer with a violent past as he takes one last job after over a decade of inactivity.  Accompanying Eastwood is his old partner Ned played by Morgan Freeman. Opposite the elder outlaws is Little Bill, played by Gene Hackman, the intimidating sheriff of the town of Big Whiskey-which is where they are headed.

The mood of this film is what really set it apart from other westerns to me.  Unforgiven really focuses on the dark and much grittier side of the old west.  Rather than being a traditional tale with guns blazing throughout, this film focuses more on the laments and past regrets of the protagonists.  This aspect, to me, is the most compelling part of the whole movie.  As Unforgiven progresses, you can see Eastwood’s inner demons raging inside him as he fights to push them aside them and carry on.

What also makes the film even richer is the acting.  All characters are intriguing to watch.  Hackman is a truly believable madman, whose ego has driven him to ferocious violence.  Freeman is also wonderful as Will Muney’s accomplice as they go about their mission.

However, I really liked Eastwood in this one.  As I said, it is easy to see the pain within him, but it is also hard to feel sympathy for him because his atrocious acts of the past.  He has cleaned up over the years, but still carries the weight of his burdensome guilt on his back.

This version of Eastwood is far different from the usual tough-guy role like that of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

This movie is not only an amazing and rich western, but a marvelous piece of cinema.  If you are a fan of westerns or Clint Eastwood, this is an obvious choice.  On the other hand, if you do not regularly prefer this genre of film, this could be an exception.  It is absolutely worth watching.  I give this film an A.

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