Monday, November 16, 2009
Unforgiven (1992) is one of my dad's favorite movies. It is a western set in the late 1800's. After finally seeing the film, I now understand why my dad liked it so much. The western scenery is beautiful. The movie fits the mold of a western pretty well, with the depiction of the main characters as cowboys. Munny is shown to live on a small, solitary farm. This gives us an idea of the development of the frontier at the time. The town of Big Whiskey is a typical one-horse type town. There's a saloon where the men go to drink and there are prostitutes that live and do business upstairs. And of course there is a sheriff, Little Bill. Little Bill isn't the typical sheriff though. The common portrayal of the sheriff is one that is tough but fair, and that gets along with most of the towns people. In Unforgiven, Little Bill is a bit power-crazed. He doesn't seem to enforce many laws except that against guns in the town. And he is pretty wary of newcomers. In this film, as in many westerns, the main character is often what some would consider "the bad guy". He is trying to serve justice to the women in the brothel, however, doing so requires being an assassin. The audience is made to sympathize with the character who's main goal is to kill. That is a big part of westerns. Justice is usually served by killing wrong-doers. But Munny is shown to have a good heart. When one cowboy is dying after Munny shoots him, he begs for water. Munny tells his friends to give him some and promises not to shoot. He shows sympathy, even though he is the one inflicting the pain upon the young man. Also, when the Kid kills his first man, he freaks and says he never wants to kill again. Munny sympathizes with the Kid, surely remembering his first time, and offers the Kid a drink of whiskey. Unforgiven has been said to be one of the greatest westerns ever made, and I have to say it is a pretty good one.