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Fire at Will!'s Review

Created May 10, 2008 09:07AM PST • Edited May 10, 2008 09:07AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    This noirish, brutal Western truly leaves its mark upon the viewer. Filled with moral ambiguity, unjust actions and a decidedly flawed hero, Unforgiven once again shows the genius and proficiency of Clint Eastwood, and marks him aside not only as one of the best actors of all time, but now as one of the most accomplished directors.

  3. Great 4.0

    Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman. Just the names alone need only remind you that this film suffers no lack of acting prowess and power.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0

    Clint Eastwood once again proves that no-one else can play a gunslinger as well as he can. The fact that he can convince the viewer of his moral dilemma whilst pumping a whole bar of deputies full of lead is only one indication of his skill.

  5. Female Stars Great 4.0

    There aren’t really any female stars as such, but the group of prostitutes who begin this story with their revenge plan manage to show that they are not women to be messed with, and the actresses to their credit show this also.

  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0

    To have Gene Hackman as your ‘villain’ (which, let’s face it, does not cut it in this story), and Morgan Freeman as support to the hero is enviable for any filmmaker, but Eastwood complements these two stars with many smaller actors who more than hold their ground; they stamp their own performances on screen. The writer Beauchamp represented to me the meek and creative man of the Old West; those who would never have fought or shot anyone. It was brilliant to watch someone show this type of person; not all men were fighters. Finally, to have Richard Harris appear for such a short time and still leave his mark lends the film yet more class.

  8. Great 4.0

    You would believe it was filmed in the real Old West, so fantastically shot and designed the movie is. Eastwood manages to seamlessly direct and act, and the film’s win for Best Picture shows through in the design, execution and portrayal of the narrative.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5

    Eastwood manages not only to get great performances from Harris and Hackman, but also himself, his character undeniably the focus but also the strongest performance.

  10. Play Great 4.0

    There is very little dialogue throughout the movie, but this only adds to the noirish film. Characters are not supposed to be fleshed out, and with the moral confusion embodied in every single person, whatever they do say cannot be trusted, lending the dialogue an interesting duality.

  11. Music Very Good 3.5

    There was very little music throughout the film, and this is due to the fact that it is not the sort of film that would actually benefit from it. Rather, the lack of music only adds to the tension and atmosphere.

  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5

    The stark nature of the American West comes through with the visuals here; the rain and the night particularly. Eastwood manages to portray a town and an area that so clearly befits the time that you could have been there.

  13. Content
  14. Sordid 2.9

    The film, despite its Western setting, does not really push the boundaries of what has already been achieved (The Wild Bunch for one).

  15. Sex Erotic 2.6

    In dealing with women as prostitutes within this movie, sex is discussed but not often portrayed, and when it is it seems to be in fitting with the setting and narrative.

  16. Violence Fierce 2.5

    The gunfights and fist-fights appear brutal, but not much blood is spilt, and considering Eastwood’s “Spaghetti” Westerns, this film is a lot less violent. The tension and mood however takes away much from the violence, lending the film fear and suspense through the performances rather than through brutality.

  17. Rudeness Profane 3.5

    Hearing Clint Eastwood curse as he attempts to get on his horse is about as rude as the film actually gets, but there are instances throughout of swearing and such, which is undeniably a watering down of what I’m sure at the time would have been a crude society!

  18. Glib 1.4

    In terms of reality, “Unforgiven” could easily have been a real story. The actions and motivations, coupled with the setting allow for the viewer to see that this could easily have occurred at the time.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.5

    The only event which appears circumstantial throughout is that of Munny’s quick-draw and execution in the bar toward the end; however, I don’t wish to ruin the film. Needless to say, it’s not beyond someone at that time doing what he does, and so the film maintains its air of reality.

  20. Biological Glib 1.4
  21. Physical Glib 1.4

    Munny takes a lot of pain, but not any more than an average man would have been able to take then or now.


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Mar 5, 2014 1:50PM

Good call, Terry. A benchmark movie.

Mar 5, 2014 12:08PM

One of Clint Eastwood’s best and darkest movies. What I love about this movie is that he effectively kills off the Man With No Name character that made him famous in his early film career. It seems to be his way of saying, “I won’t be doing characters like that anymore.” It’s also a meditation of the cyclical trap of violence – violence only leading to more violence. Great film!