A magnificent movie that transcends its familiar tale of a reformed gunman forced by circumstance to resume his violent ways. When a cowhand cuts up a prostitute and a bounty is placed on his head, killer-turned-farmer Will Munny (Eastwood) joins his old partner (Freeman) and a bluff youngster (Woolvett) in the hunt. But in Big Whiskey, they must face the rough justice of Sheriff Daggett (Hackman)... While Eastwood's muscular direction shows he's fully aware of genre traditions, he and writer David Webb Peoples have created something fresh, profound, complex. It's not only a question of the excellent characterisations, but of situations given a new spin: the prostitutes and the spirit of Munny's dead wife introduce a feminist angle; there are insights into the thin line dividing law from justice; and the accent on ageing, fear and death establishes a dark tone perfectly complemented by Jack Green's sombre images. All of which links with the way this very violent film shows the cost of violence, painting a persuasive portrait of people increasingly given to emotions they have no control over. Refuting conventional cowboy heroics, Eastwood presents an alternative myth whereby a man, goaded by Furies to yield to a past that still haunts him, despatches himself to a living Hell. In this dark, timeless terrain, the film achieves a magnificent intensity.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||David Webb Peoples|