Review: Unforgiven

Unforgiven | Clint Eastwood, 1992

Clint Eastwood is a great artist. He has directed many great movies, made some nice scores, and created some iconic characters. There is no doubt that his most iconic character is the man with no name from the Sergio Leone trilogy of the same name. Eastwood is always at his best when he is in a western, which is why I suppose Unforgiven, his last western, is a great movie.

The story is simple. A couple of cowboys hurt a prostitute, but the sheriff, Little Bill (Gene Hackman) doesn’t do anything about it, except having them pay the “owner” of the prostitue for the damage they caused to her. Because of this, her friends offer a reward to anyone who kills the two guys. The sheriff doesn’t like this because he wants his word to be the last word, so he does everything in his power to prevent the prostitutes from having their way. Then there’s Clint Eastwood who plays a retired murderer whose wife passed away. One day, the son of one of his ex-partners comes looking for him to help him get the reward. After careful consideration he decides to do it, even though he is rusty. This leads to an exciting ride towards the town, and a climax that delivered.

Unforgiven is Clint Eastwood best movie as a director. There isn’t any showy work but he makes a gritty and traditional western. The performances are also great. Eastwood quite possibly gives his best performance. Then there’s Gene Hackman as Little Bill. Exquisite performance. Eastwood work, along with the performances, makes this rise above some of the flaws the story has.

Unforgiven is amazing. It is a great throwback to the westerns that made the genre what it was.

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