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Unforgiven

Some legends will never be forgotten. Some wrongs can never be forgiven.
Unforgiven
William Munny is a retired, once-ruthless killer turned gentle widower and hog farmer. To help support his two motherless children, he accepts one last bounty-hunter mission to find the men who brutalized a prostitute. Joined by his former partner and a cocky greenhorn, he takes on a corrupt sheriff.

Reviews

redTed
Quite easily the finest western ever made and very close to the greatest film ever made. It won loads of Oscars and other film awards in 1993, but it still should have won more. Talk about a man at his peak ? This has Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Richard Harris, Morgan Freeman and virtual rookie, Jaimz Woolvett as The Schofield Kid, all putting in magnificent, career defining performances. Not to mention the bit players who all add to this stunningly captivating film. Weak points ? There are none. Every frame is a gem. It has plenty of dark humour. A few touching moments where you would think it wasn't possible. Sadistic and brutal fight scenes and then it has Clint Eastwood riding into town for the final terrifying, yet totally satisfying, showdown. How Al Pacino (The Scent of a Woman) beat Clint to Best Actor in 1993 is a mystery of modern times. Right up there with how The Shawshank Redemption didn't win anything of note in '95 but is now regarded as possibly the greatest film of all time by many people.
John Chard
That's right. I'm just a fella now. I ain't no different than anyone else no more. William Munny (Clint Eastwood taking the lead and directing the piece) is an old and retired gunman whose past misdemeanours would make the devil himself seem tame. Widowed and struggling to raise his two children on a paltry farm, he's tempted out of retirement for one last pay dirt job, the consequence of which provides violence - both physically and of the soul. Clint Eastwood signed off from the Western genre with this magnificent 1992 picture, the appropriation and irony of which is in itself a majestic point of reference. After the script had been knocking around for nigh on twenty years (written by Blade Runner scribe David Webb Peoples), Eastwood seized the opportunity to play William Munney and lay bare the mythologies of the Wild West. What is most amazing about Unforgiven's screenplay is how we the audience are firmly on Munney's side, we are, incredibly, influenced by Eastwood's part in the history of the Western. In spite of Munney's obvious murky past (despicable crimes they be), we wait (and hope) for Munney to make a quip and way-lay the bad guys - actually, salivating at the prospect is probably closer to the truth. So it's with enormous credit that Eastwood, and his magnificent cast and crew, manage to fuddle all our respective perceptions of the West and the characters we ourselves have aged with. It's not for nothing that W.W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) is the critical character that nobody expected. Beauchamp is a writer of penny pulpy novels that tell of derring-do heroics, gunslingers with a glint in their eye and death dealt like an heroic encore, this gives Unforgiven an excellent sleight of hand, for this West is grim and a destroyer of all illusions. Eastwood is greatly served by the actors around him, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman (winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for a script he turned down many years before!), Rubinek, Frances Fisher, Anna Thomson, Jaimz Woolvett and an incredible cameo from Richard Harris. Along with Hackman's win for his brutally tough portrayal of Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett, Unforgiven also won Oscars for Eastwood for his clinically tight direction, Best Picture, Best Editing and it was nominated for in another five categories. One of those nominations was for Jack Green's cinematography, which now, in this age of High Definition enhanced cinema, can be seen in all its wonderful glory. The Alberta location is magically transformed into the Western frontier, with the orange and brown hues a real treat for the eyes. Ultimately, though, Unforgiven is a lesson in brilliant film making, across the board it works so well, why? Well because the man at the helm knows this genre so well, having been its sole flag bearer for practically 25 years, and learning from his peers, Eastwood has crafted a thematically complex piece that for all its violence, debunking and melancholy pulse beats, is a film that is as beautiful as it is most assuredly stark, an incredible and true highlight of modern day cinema. 10/10
John Chard
That's right. I'm just a fella now. I ain't no different than anyone else no more. William Munny (Clint Eastwood taking the lead and directing the piece) is an old and retired gunman whose past misdemeanours would make the devil himself seem tame. Widowed and struggling to raise his two children on a paltry farm, he's tempted out of retirement for one last pay dirt job, the consequence of which provides violence - both physically and of the soul. Clint Eastwood signed off from the Western genre with this magnificent 1992 picture, the appropriation and irony of which is in itself a majestic point of reference. After the script had been knocking around for nigh on twenty years (written by Blade Runner scribe David Webb Peoples), Eastwood seized the opportunity to play William Munney and lay bare the mythologies of the Wild West. It's striking that the makers here have lured us in to being firmly on Munney's side, we are, incredibly, influenced by Eastwood's part in the history of the Western. In spite of Munney's obvious murky past (despicable crimes they be), we wait (and hope) for Munney to make a quip and way lay the bad guys - in fact salivating at the prospect is probably closer to the truth. So it's with enormous credit that Eastwood, and his magnificent cast and crew, manage to fuddle all our respective perceptions of the West and the characters we ourselves have aged with. It's not for nothing that W.W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) is one of the critical characters on show, this even though we didn't expect that to be the case. Beauchamp is a writer of penny pulpy novels that tell of derring-do heroics, gunslingers with a glint in their eye who deal death as some sort of heroic encore. This gives Unforgiven an excellent sleight of hand, for this West is grim and a destroyer of all illusions and it's not controversial to say that this is indeed a good thing. Eastwood is greatly served by the actors around him, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman (winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for a script he turned down many years before!), Rubinek, Frances Fisher, Anna Thomson, Jaimz Woolvett and an incredible cameo from Richard Harris. Along with Hackman's win for his brutally tough portrayal of Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett, Unforgiven also won Oscars for Eastwood for his clinically tight direction, Best Picture, Best Editing and it was nominated in another five categories. One of those nominations was for Jack Green's cinematography, which now, in this age of High Definition enhanced cinema, can be seen in all its wonderful glory. The Alberta location is magically transformed into the Western frontier, with the orange and brown hues a real treat for the eyes. Ultimately though, Unforgiven is a lesson in adroit film making, where across the board it works so well. Why? Well because the man at the helm knows this genre inside out, he was after all the sole flag bearer for practically 25 years. He learnt from his peers, and thus Eastwood has crafted a thematically complex piece that for all its violence, debunking and melancholy pulse beats, is a film that is as beautiful as it is most assuredly stark. An incredible and true highlight of modern day cinema, regardless of being a genre fan or not. 10/10

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