IMDb Rating: 8.2/10
R | 2h 10min | Drama, Western | 1992 (Romania) | Movie
Metacritic: 85/100 “Must See”
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96% Certified Fresh (Critic reviews) | 93% Fresh (Audience reviews)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: David Webb Peoples
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
Movie Tagline: “It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man”
IMDb summary: Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner Ned Logan and a young man, The “Schofield Kid.”
WE ARE NOT SPOILER FREE
This review was written by Jeremy with edits by Julie
We’ve left the Knights in Shining Armour behind to move forward in time to the Wild, Wild West so we’ll be reviewing some of the western genre’s heavy hitters of which this film is undoubtedly leading the pack.
Clint Eastwood is nothing short of a tour-de-force as retired gunslinger William Munny and his final scene in the film is testament to his talent as a leading man in any genre. It’s interesting because Clint Eastwood’s character is a “reformed” killer who is now trying to do the right thing by taking on a job with his partner Ned played by Morgan Freeman. The job promises to pay $1000.00 which was a lot of money in those days.
Is William Munny an anti-hero though? Possibly. There is duality for sure with his character trying to do the right thing when he was doing the wrong thing for so long and killing for the sake of it. When we meet William Munny he is living on the outskirts and pays regular visits to his wife’s grave. He is a reformed pig farmer with two kids and no real way of making any money. To say he is almost destitute wouldn’t be wrong – he owns his own house (which tends to look more like an expanded shack than a house) and not a lot else.
The film proper begins when a hired gun named “The Schofield Kid” comes a calling on retired Assassin Bill Munny and well, Bill Munny just isn’t like that any more, or so he tells himself. The reality is that the stone cold killer that he used to be is really just in hibernation and is going to have a real good reason to come out of it.
The ambiguity in this film is what makes it and the characters so interesting. We have a “reformed” killer who thinks he has truly changed when he really hasn’t. We have a kid with a cute nick-name who thinks he’s the big cheese when in reality, he doesn’t know the first thing about bounty hunting. And we have Gene Hackman’s character who plays the “law” in these here parts but he’s really nothing short of being a bully with a gun and a mean streak to go with it.
You just know that the showdown is going to be nothing short of epic and it really is. The final scenes in the film are pretty amazing. Clint Eastwood is fantastic as the deliverer of justice in a lawless town and you only really want more of it. But the ending ties things up nicely with Bill going back to his family to continue living the life of a reformed man.