Clint Eastwood is a unique specimen of director. In his early days, he was more known for his acting chops, but he would wind up winning two Oscars for directing – and both for Best Picture winners. We’ll look at Million Dollar Baby later down the line, but right now, let’s talk about a story that’s more in Eastwood’s comfort zone.
Anybody familiar with the western genre should recognize a whole bunch of cliches that are repeated here. The film uses so many western and action movie tropes that it’s actually a wonder it won Best Picture. The film comes across as a typical western. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s a fun flick. It’s an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half. I just don’t feel that it has enough substance for a Best Picture Winner.
Tech-wise, the film is very well put together. There’s definitely some good cinematography and production design going on. I do like some of the dialogue, even if the story can be a bit lackluster at times. And I found myself really liking the acting by both Gene Hackman and Anna Levine. But in spite of it’s efforts, the film doesn’t have much that makes it stand out from a typical western.
If you’re a fan of the western genre, you’ll definitely enjoy this. I’ve always been a little wary of westerns. Probably the best one I’ve seen is Cimarron, which is ironically one of the most hated Best Picture Winners of all time. Overall, Unforgiven is not a great film, but a good one. I’m glad I saw it, but I’m not sure how many times i’ll be revisiting this one.