Directed By : Clint Eastwood Cast : Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Jaimz Woolvett , Richard Harris, Anna Levine, Saul Rubinek, Frances Fisher, Anthony James
Unforgiven breaks the myths about brutal old west and lets you peep into the remorse of being a Gunfighter.
Unforgiven is a classic western movie among Clint Eastwood westerns, which tells the story of a man of notoriously vicious and intemperate disposition named William ‘Bill’ Munny (Clint Eastwood). One thing that I love in this movie is it makes you feel the remorse and internal guilt of being a gunslinger on contrary to hype that.
This western film takes you on bounty hunting and on your way, makes you realize that being a killer is a self-disgrace.
An old time outlaw William Munny halfheartedly takes a last job in hand to earn his children a good life. The others in his trio are; ‘The Schofield Kid’ (Jaimz Woolvett) and an old friend Ned (Morgan Freeman). Their employers are prostitutes of town ‘Big Whiskey’ who are enraged after a few drunken cowboys cut one of their fellow prostitutes. But the obstacle in this ‘justice’ bounty is the town Sheriff ‘Little Bill'( Gene Hackman) who is feared for blowing up every bounty hunter who enters the town.
The movie unfolds 1878 in some unknown place of old west, where William Munny is living a secluded farmer’s life with his kids after his wife’s demise. An old time gunfighter, who has many bad deeds on his name, appears just like an aging father who is trying to survive with his children.
You see him struggling with hogs and trying to teach his kids a few good things. This emotional backdrop breaks the myth of western movies from our minds.
A prostitute is face-cut by two drunken cowboys. This happens in the town of Big Whiskey where Little Bill is a hard hitting sheriff. But expecting a fair justice from him proves to be a mistake as he leaves the culprits with a slap on the wrist. Reason for being so unfair? He explains “They are just hard-working boys who got foolish!” Of course, it upsets us as well as the poor prostitutes.
Prostitutes declare a reward on the heads of guilty cowboys. Little Bill warns publically that he is against this bounty and he will deal roughly if anyone comes to Big Whiskey for it. Seeing him whacking a bounty hunter English Bob will make you hate him. No wonder Gene Hackman won an Oscar for this role.
In Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood as Munny will wipe off all your gunfighter myths as he speaks about his regrets over his ‘outlaw’ past to Ned on the way to Big Whiskey.
Clint Eastwood gives such an amazing performance in Unforgiven that you will be able to see his moral dilemma of choosing between his poor present and dark past.
While it is miserable to watch Munny killing unwillingly and Schofield Kid getting shaken deeply after killing a young lad for bounty, it’s hilarious to see self-importance hungry Little Bill narrating his old gun stories and Beauchamp taking serious notes.
Other human aspect which is drawn beautifully by this western movie is empathy. After Munny is nearly killed by Little Bill who catches him with firearms in Big Whiskey, a beautiful empathizing sequence is seen between recovering Munny and face-cut prostitute who takes care of him. Unforgiven reveals soft sides of their characters very candidly. They both are lonely, hurt and need someone to sympathize to. They both look ‘unforgiven’ by life in some way.
The movie ends with a subtle but definitive message that killing can never be honorable no matter how brave it was. Clint Eastwood displays his behind-the-camera charm like never before. Although Munny’s trio hunts both wanted cowboys successfully, there is no rejoice and feeling of achievement in the air but only deep regret and remorse.
My favorite sequence is the final one from this western film. During the entire movie Clint appears to be a soft spoken man in search of his destiny, but this last sequence introduces you to the old William Munny who was a feared man. Clint Eastwood makes a smooth but quick transition from an aging and poor old farmer to a furious and brutal gunfighter. His last lines are great and make “Unforgiven” one of the best Clint Eastwood Westerns.
In final scene, after he is done with Little Bill and his men inside the saloon, with all the town aiming at saloon door, he makes his way out of saloon with these fireball lines and leaves the town dumbstruck in his terror-
“All right! I am coming out and any man I see out there, I am gonna kill him. If somebody takes a shot at me, not only I am gonna kill him, I am gonna kill his wife, all his friends and will burn his damn home down.” And by Jove he is damn ‘convincing’!
Unforgiven is one gem of Clint Eastwood Westerns. It has got everything you ever wanted to see in a western film.. excellent cinematography, story, performances and tightly knit characters. Shouldn’t be missed by any western movies freak or Clint Eastwood fan.