The Unforgivable: Clint Eastwood’s stainless classic – La Tercera

Eleven years without shooting a man and almost three since the death of his wifeClaudia, the woman who saved him from drinking and a cruel past as a hit man. Rusty and still bruised from loss, an aging William Munny (Clint Eastwood) returns to action one last time as a bounty hunter.

The potential prize that brings him out of retirement is US$1,000, to be divided with the young and impetuous Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) and with his partner from old wanderings, Ned (Morgan Freeman); a stimulus that would allow him to resolve the economic difficulties that he suffers with his two young children on a pig farm, but above all an excuse that catapults him on a journey of redemption and revenge.

In light of his scrolls, the task – killing two outlaws responsible for attacking a prostitute in Big Whiskey, Wyoming – shouldn’t be too much of an effort, but to accomplish his task he’ll have to outwit the town’s ruthless sheriff (Gene Hackman) and get ahead of other potential loot takers (mainly Richard Harris’s English Bob).

Clint Eastwood found in that tormented and melancholic figure to a character made to measure. He himself starred in westerns that defined the first decades of his acting career (the television series RawhideSergio Leone’s dollar trilogy) and, as his films as a director also allowed him to meditate on the genre, he was enthusiastic about a rereading in which neither the bad guys were so bad nor the good guys too good, and violence was not an object of glorification nor of vulgar condemnation.

That was what the script written by David Webb Peoples (bladerunner), a text whose main interest was Francis Ford Coppola – who did not get the financing – and which Eastwood ended up acquiring at the beginning of the 1980s, the same decade in which he released titles such as honkytonk man (1982), the pale rider (1985) and bird (1988). under his control, would transform into The unforgivables (1992), although not immediately.

The Unforgivable Clint Eastwoods stainless classic La Tercera

Aware of the richness and density of the material, he allowed some time to elapse before finally shooting the William Munny-centric story, once called The William Munny killings either The cut-whore killings (“They were all terrible titles, but it was a wonderful script,” the Gran Torino filmmaker once said.)

He didn’t want to do it when he was in his 50s, but rather at a time when he was steeping in six decades of life and could be more convincing as an older man with a reputation as a thief and murderer who gets muddy with his farm animals and comes back. to draw his weapon.

Those who revisit the gigantic film released in 1992 –this Sunday the 7th marks 30 years since his debut in American theaters and streaming is available on the HBO Max platform– can attest to the full validity of the ambiguity of its protagonists, their overwhelming ability to launch questions about human nature while portraying an Old West more domesticated than wild, and the heights that he reaches for the simple fact that the author of his x-ray is a prodigal son of that proverbial Hollywood genre.

Three decades ago, its appearance did not cause any confusion. With this feature film, the author of Mystical river (2003) achieved critical consensus, unquestionably triumphed at the Oscars and dispelled any doubts about his consistency and power as a director. Despite the overwhelming success that was scored with The unforgivablesEastwood, now 92 years old, he has never again filmed a production framed in the western.

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Some argued that A perfect world (1993) emerged as an heir to this type of story, or that The mule (2018) and cry male (2021) incorporated part of these codes. Meanwhile, the genre from time to time shows signs of life, almost always through more oblique incarnations, and veterans like Martin Scorsese (killers of the flower moon) and Pedro Almodovar (strange way of life) enlist their first approximations to that imaginary. But few dispute that Eastwood said the last word exactly 30 years ago.

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The Unforgivable: Clint Eastwood’s stainless classic – La Tercera

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