A retired gunslinger reluctantly agrees to help
a young hothead avenge an assaulted prostitute.
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by David Webb Peoples
Starring Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman,
Richard Harris, Jaimz Woolvett, Saul Rubinek, Frances Fisher,
Anna Levine, David Mucci, Rob Campbell, Anthony James
Oscar Wins - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman), Best Director, Best Film Editing
Oscar Nominations - Best Actor (Clint Eastwood),
Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography,
Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing
Unforgiven is the finalization of Clint Eastwood's tenure as a nameless Western hero and one of his finest films. It takes all the tired tropes of the Western and turns them all on their heads, creating sympathetic murderers and despicable men of the law. Led by an outstanding performance by Eastwood himself, it's not hard to see why this film won him an Oscar for directing.
Eastwood delivers one of the finest performances of his career, playing a character that seems to be the personification of all of his prior Western characters from A Fistful of Dollars to Pale Rider. William Munny (Eastwood) is a worn-out gunslinger who has done unspeakable things but agrees to help bring two cowboys to justice and ends up confronting Gene Hackman's heartless Little Bill Daggett over the death of a friend. Munny's journey in this film appears to be Eastwood telling his audience what happened to all of his Western characters after they went off into the sunset. It's a brilliant direction to take and helps make the film all the more poignant.
Unforgiven is not a conventional Western, as it does not have very clear definitions regarding who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. This film is loaded with grey characters, and that makes the film a helluva lot more interesting. It's definitely worth a watch for the performances and story, as well as the significance of it in terms of Eastwood's career.