Monday, December 1, 2008

The Great Silence (1968, Sergio Corbucci)

Spaghetti westerns. I'll be honest, I couldn't care less about Spaghetti westerns or westerns in general until recently. It was Django (who's director Sergio Corbucci is also the director of this film). The only real reason I took a chance on Django was because it was considered somewhat of a classic and because I was rabid to see more films with Franco Nero. I really enjoyed it and started seeking out other SWs that I may like. Django Kill...If You Live Shoot, Run Man Run, Companeros and Four of the Apocalypse, to name just a few. Oh yeah, and........

Il Grande Silenzio, or The Great Silence, is not like your average western. You can tell right away when the opening credits show a cowboy riding a horse through a snow covered landscape. Wait, it snows in the west? We soon find out that the story takes place in Snowhill, Utah (fitting name). A group of bounty killers roam the town, hunting bandits in exchange for money. The head bounty killer is Loco (Klaus Kinski) who shows no mercy towards these bandits, dragging them on his horse with a bullwhip or shooting at the blink of an eye. A mute outlaw named Silence also comes to town. Silence hires himself out as protection to the outlaws to kill the bounty killers (does that make him a bounty killer killer?). Anyway, it is up to the viewer to determine if the cold blooded and ruthless bounty hunters being paid by the sheriff are the heroes and the vengeful Silence, who is out for justice and being paid by the outlaws is the villain or vice versa.

The Great Silence is a true gem. It is a strange movie, but very rewarding. There are so many surprises in this movie. Why Silence became silent. The love scene between Silence and the African-American widow of one of the dead bandits killed by Loco. And last but not least, one of the most shocking and unexpected endings in movie history. Klaus Kinski is great, as usual. Jean-Louis Trintignant shows so much emotion for a man who doesn't talk, proving his talent. The direction and stark cinematography is also great, it almost gives the film a black and white feel. Go see this friggin' movie.


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