The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

               

The third and final chapter in Sergio Leone’s “man with no name” trilogy, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is perhaps his most accomplished work, embracing a wholesomely cinematic style of filmmaking within a sprawling, nominally plotted western epic. Starting in the same vein as Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Leone begins as he means to proceed by drip feeding his audience slow narrative progression combined with characters that appear then abruptly meet their maker minutes later. It’s an effective technique, and one which he maintains when introducing his protagonists; three rogues who embody each of the title’s descriptions – good, bad and ugly, though the first two are obvious, the reasoning for the latter description isn’t immediately apparent. Maybe it’s the cunning, malevolent yet loveable charm Eli Wallach bestows to his outlaw character, Tuco, which make him so apprehensively endearing. Or perhaps it’s his double-crossing and swindling ways, although Eastwood’s monosyllabic and mysterious antihero (the good) is equally as wily and deceptive yet is shown in more of an accommodating light.

Setting the film in the time during the American Civil War allows the films its cultural relevance and also its storyline. The beleaguered pursuit of buried confederate gold sees Eastwood’s Blondie and a merciless Tuco forming an uneasy, apprehensively comical on-again off-again partnership and Lee Van Cleef’s evil, unethical  ‘Angel Eyes’ (the bad) acting out his lonely desperation for wealth. The battle between Union and Confederate troops forms a perilous backdrop to proceedings which sees the characters coming into contact with both sides on numerous occasions, providing setbacks, salvation and resolution in equal measures.

It is clear to see how Leone reinvigorated the rusty western genre; his film emits a vast tranquillity which contrasts with the confrontational narrative and rugged terrain surrounding every shot. The higher budget than A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965) allows him to combine his ‘spaghetti western’ tendencies with a production based in and around Italy. This works in the films favour, offering an infinite setting which compliments Tonino Delli Colli’s cinematography and Leone’s indulgence with his cherished long shot. There is whimsical violence and gloriously edited shoot-outs aplenty, all edited with Ennio Morricone’s hauntingly animalistic score in mind which all work collectively to remind us that the western genre isn’t as tired and prosaic as we were once led to believe.

5/5

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, 1966. [Film] Directed by Sergio Leone, Italy: Arturo González Producciones Cinematográficas, S.A.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West, 1968. [Film] Directed by Sergio Leone, Italy: Finanzia San Marco.
  • A Fistful of Dollars, 1964. [Film] Directed by Sergio Leone, Italy: Constantin Film Produktion.
  • For a Few Dollars More, 1965. [Film] Directed by Sergio Loeone, Italy: Produzioni Europee Associati (PEA).

Recent Ratings:

  • Wild Child, 2008. [Film] Directed by Nick Moore, USA: Universal Pictures. While this is hardly the height of cinematic sophistication, and it does cater toward the less demanding demographics (predominantly teenage girls), Wild Child is relatively harmless and features a charming performance from an adorable Emma Roberts, who really carries the film through its frequent lapses in credibility and nationality stereotypes. It’s also nice to see the late Natasha Richardson again in one of her final performances, and Nick Frost is, although slightly out of place, humorous enough. Alex Pettyfer, on the other hand, continues to prove he’s hired mainly for his good looks, not his limited acting range. 3/5
  • The Italian Job, 1996. [Film] Directed by Peter Collinson, UK: Oakhurst Productions. Of course, the climactic three-mini chase/getaway sequence is pretty marvellous to watch, the rest of the film on the other hand, although iconic and zany, just fills in the blanks. I enjoyed it a lot, but it is a tad overrated. 3.5/5
  • Disturbia, 2007. [Film] Directed by D.J. Caruso, USA: Dreamworks SKG. This is better than it actually should be but by no means anything amazing. Remaking (of sorts) the masterpiece that is ‘Rear Window‘ was always doomed for failure, but the modern day translation does work to a degree as it mixes elements and adds a more contemporary spin. Characterisation is okay and the storyline does have its tense moments, even though the mystery surrounding the murderous neighbour is revealed far too early to hold much suspense and the denoument bears too much resemblance to The Burbs. The romantic sublot is cliched yet rarely interrupts the action and Shia Labeouf isnt as bad as he is in everything else. What the film lacks is an underusage of Carrie-Anne Moss as the mother, who is unfortunately pushed to the sidelines. Moss and Labeouf show a good chemistry as mother and son, and their chequered relationship deserved more screentime.
    As i said, Disturbia isnt exactly a necessary remake or does it offer anything new, but as a decently constructed little thriller, you could do worse. 3/5
  • Miss Congeniality 2 -Armed & Fabulous, 2005. [Film] Directed by John Pasquin, USA: Castle Rock Entertainment. The first installment was okay, but it definitly did not warrant a sequel, especially a sequel as disastrously bas as this. Bullock is as likeable as ever, but yet again she is wasted in another dreary ‘comedy’. This shares a lot with another misguided sequel; Legally Blonde 2, in that it is completely unnecessary and exists purely to further the tedious adventures of their leading protagonists. 2/5
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2 responses to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review « So I went to the store today…

  2. Pingback: The Good The Bad And The Ugly | Trends Pics

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