Unforgiven (DVD, 2002, 2-Disc Set, Two Disc Special Edition) Reviews
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Unforgiven (DVD, 2002, 2-Disc Set, Two Disc Special Edition)

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"He should've armed himself." - Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven

Jul 21, 2012
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Cast, scenery, violence

Cons:Violence might offend, especially at the beginning

The Bottom Line: Unforgiven is yet another in a long line of great Clint Eastwood westerns.

Big Whiskey, Wyoming is a peaceful little town in the old west—hell, the sheriff (Gene Hackman) doesn’t even allow firearms inside the town limits, meaning that only he and his posse are armed. One night, a man named Clyde Ledbetter (Ron White—not that Ron White) slashes the face of a Big Whiskey prostitute for laughing at the size of his member. After Sheriff Daggett refuses to punish Ledbetter and his brother, the prostitutes pool their money together and put the word out that there’s a reward for killing the two brothers. A cocky young gunslinger called The Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) recruits an aging, retired gunfighter named William Munny (Clint Eastwood,) who looks up his old partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman.) Together, the three set off to earn the reward in Clint Eastwood’s 1992 film Unforgiven.

When The Schofield Kid shows up, William Munny is a law-abiding pig farmer. His late wife had cured him of his “wicked ways”—he hasn’t even tasted a drop of whiskey in ten years. He’s happy raising his two children and his pigs, and still remains faithful to his wife, even though she’s been dead for over three years. Needing the reward money, he reluctantly follows The Kid off on his adventure, where eventually he has to succumb to his past. In the meantime, he and Logan have to face the fact that they are getting old and aren’t quite as invincible as they were in their younger days.

Unforgiven is another in a long line of great Eastwood westerns—good enough that it won four Academy Awards (Hackman for Best Supporting Actor, Eastwood for Best Director, Best Picture, and Joel Cox for Best Film Editing.) It basically follows the same formula as the Eastwood westerns that preceded it: Eastwood’s character is basically a loner with a vague, fuzzy past, which eventually he must confront head on as he takes on a slew of bad guys; only in this case, he’s about 60-years old. And as is the Eastwood western custom, it’s full of gorgeous scenery and just enough violence to keep fans happy, interspersed with lots of quiet, reflective moments.

Eastwood, who customarily cast his movies with virtual unknowns to avoid being upstaged, put together an all-star cast for Unforgiven. Eastwood, of course, made his name playing cowboys/gunslingers, and his performance here is effortless, and Morgan Freeman is his usual stellar self as Munny’s old buddy Ned Logan—he portrays just the right amount of cool, professional confidence marred with a touch of self doubt as he comes to terms with his recent lack of experience. And Oscar winner Hackman is perfect playing Sheriff Daggett. He’s a real bastard, and Hackman plays him to the hilt. And it’s too bad that Richard Harris (English Bob) wasn’t given a more prominent role as he portrays a gentlemanly gunfighter who travels with his own biographer (Saul Rubinek, who you might recognize from his stint in the TV show Frasier.)

This standard format Clint Eastwood Collection DVD has a few Special Features, although there’s not much that’s “special” about them. Production notes is a written couple of “pages” with a few facts about the movie (it was filmed in Alberta, Canada; it took the crew two months to build the town of Big Whiskey, etc.) Otherwise, there’s a couple pages crediting cast and crew, and a page or two highlighting various awards garnered by the film (Hackman won Best Supporting Actor all over the board, as did Eastwood for Best Director, yet Eastwood only won one award for Best Actor, by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.) And that’s about it for Special Features, which is kind of disappointing when compared to the Dirty Harry DVD series, which has special documentaries about the films.

Overall, however, Unforgiven is a DVD worth owning. It’s yet another great Eastwood western, so if you’re a fan, this should already be in your collection. If not, then it certainly deserves a spot alongside your copies of Pale Rider, The Outlaw Josey Wales, etc. Buy it at your first opportunity.

Recommend this product? Yes

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