Once Upon a Time in the West

September 20, 2007 at 8:01 am Leave a comment

I’m sure you’re all disappointed in my for not posting much here lately, but to be honest I haven’t had anything to write. Life has been pretty regular lately, and nothings been particularly newsworthy. I’m always open to suggestions, of course, so feel free to suggest things to blog about.

In the meantime, I’ll regale you with tales of why “Once Upon a Time in the West” is the most badass movie ever made.

My favourite story about the movie, and also thing thing that sums it up best, is the fact that though over three hours long the script only contained fourteen pages of dialogue. Everything about the Western form is multiplied a thousand-fold; long and epic shots of the countryside, quadruple-crosses, gun battles where the participants spend seven minutes starring each other down.

But rather than being excessive and bloated, the whole thing is actually very minimalist. Those fourteen pages of dialogue? The reason there’s not more is because character’s only talk to be badasses, right before men start dying.

Take, for example, the opening scene, in which our hero “Harmonica” arrives at the train station to find three men ready to ambush him under the guise of taking him to town. Their entire exchange consists of this:

Harmonica: Did you bring a horse for me?
Bandit: Ha! Looks like we’re shy one horse!
Harmonica: No, you brought two too many.


So badass.

More than most movie I’ve seen, “Once Upon a Time in the West” builds it’s characters into huge, towering figures. Watching their trials is less like watching the burdens of men than the struggle of gods. Everything in the film, from the stunning cinematography to Morricone’s incredible score, builds an incredible sense of epic the likes of which it’s almost impossible to see anywhere else.

Of course, since not everyone gets excited over stunning camerawork or a well-constructed mise en scene, it’s possible no one reading this would actually enjoy the movie. It seems to move to slowly for a lot of people.

Essentially I’ve just reviewed a movie that I love and none of you will want to see. See what I mean about having nothing to write about?


Entry filed under: review. Tags: , .

It’s Been a Funny Day In Which I Talk of Random Things

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September 2007
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