Review: Unforgiven

Director: Clint Eastwood
Year: 1992
Score: 7.5/10

For the ten months between the release of Unforgiven in August 1992 and the release of Jurassic Park in June 1993, this was cinema's most inglorious toilet death.

For the ten months between the release of Unforgiven in August 1992 and the release of Jurassic Park in June 1993, this was cinema’s most inglorious toilet death.

Touted as Clint Eastwood’s anti-western, to me this thoughtful film came across as a regular western but one with a clear message: that behind all the bluster and mythologising and storytelling, the Wild West was a harsh, violent world full of cruelty and injustice. The acting is excellent all around (though Eastwood himself doesn’t do a whole lot with an admittedly unflashy lead role), the exteriors are beautifully shot, and the music is quite nice. Some of the events seem to happen a little too easily, but that’s easy to overlook. The line “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it”, used to great effect in a climactic scene, was later reused in The Wire, and I think of it often. Overall, it’s a quality film, probably my favourite of those Eastwood has directed (caveat: I haven’t yet seen Flags of Our Fathers or Letters from Iwo Jima), but I wouldn’t say it deserved to win Best Picture. Having said that, looking at the other films released that year, I’m not surprised it did win, and I’m hard-pressed to pick a better winner; perhaps Glengarry Glen Ross, Malcolm X or The Crying Game? There was also a little animation by the name of Aladdin…

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