The wild bunch

Posted by: | March 11, 2009 | Comments Off on The wild bunch

I don’t particularly like Westerns. They bore me and I think they’re all predictable. The only western I have liked has been High Noon. And Unforgiven, although I wouldn’t consider it a Western. This movie is no a western in essence either. It is a movie about the changing times. I have never seen a machine gun or a shotgun in a western before. And I haven’t seen such violence like in the last massacre scene either. This movie plays with your expectations, it makes you think about what is going on. These men are outlaws in a world were they are not going to be able to be outlaws anymore. They are a dying breed, and I think this reflects perfectly the Western trend in the United States.
Westerns have been popular ever since movies began. The great train robbery is one of the first films to employ parallel editing, and that was a western. So was D.W. grifith “The girl and her trust”. And up to the 1950’s westerns represented the American ideal of dominating the lands and overcoming the terrible things that happen around you. The hero (mostly John Wayne) always won. But by the 1960’s this trend was falling. People began producing more science fiction and the musical boomed, people were looking for escapism and a way to reflect the cold war era. This movie is probably one of the last true westerns.
I call this a western because it has everything you need for a western: the setting, the morally ambiguos characters that decide to fight for a change, the villains that look out of a cartoon novel, etc… Unforgiven doesn’t have that, it just has the setting. I really liked the ending, when they look at each other after Angel has died, they know they are going to die. But instead of running away or trying to make a truce, they fight back. I took this as their last chance for thrill. They look at each in a kind of Bonnie and Clyde way and because they decide to die, that makes them heroes. They might be the epitamy of an anti-hero, but the moment they go to Mexico and see all this corruption, they change into heroes.
This is an aspect I didn’t like about the film. Mexico was protrayed as corrupt and dirty and with no moral ambitions. It is because of Mexico that they change, they see it is worse than them. The characters play on stock characters, and even the only Mexican worth saving, Angel, is a deliquent in the end. Although the film was set in the Mexican revolution, that still doesn’t cut it to show them as complete monsters and non-caring. When that woman was shot, they just laughed it off. This is not the first western that shows Mexicans like this of course, but it is still offensive.


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