The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) Review

Synopsis

Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood) watches helplessly as his wife and child are murdered, by Union men led by Capt. Terrill (Bill McKinney). Seeking revenge, Wales joins the Confederate Army. He refuses to surrender when the war ends, but his fellow soldiers go to hand over their weapons — and are massacred by Terrill. Wales guns down some of Terrill’s men and flees to Texas, where he tries to make a new life for himself, but the bounty on his head endangers him and his new surrogate family.

Release date: June 26, 1976

(USA)Director: Clint Eastwood

Story by: Asa Earl Carter

Film series: The Outlaw Josey Wales

Screenplay: Philip Kaufman, Sonia Chernus

My Review

The short and sweet intro to the films conflict at its beginning gave me the instinct that this would be a phenomenal film. That instinct was not wrong in the slightest. This Western film showcases almost every “stereotype” of a Western film, and it does so in brilliant ways. The plot kept me interested into the film’s story, and the film is full of dynamic characters that come to life on screen.

The editing in this film surprised me in a positive way. I noticed lots of cross dissolves in the battle scenes, and this added an interesting feel and look to the film. It helped the action new and exciting and avoided becoming monotonous. The limited use of music was something that stood out to me in the films editing. There are a lot of films whose musical score completely adds to the emotion and intensity that the audience feels. However, in with a lack of music in this film the filmmakers still excelled at investing the audience into its story.

As a character Josey Wales was extremely intriguing and mysterious. Right from the beginning of the film Josey gains the sympathy of his audience members. Throughout the rest of the film the audience witnesses Josey on a journey of revenge and self growth. Clint Eastwood brought the character to life and made it his own.

I was expecting the whole film to focus primarily on the conflict of revenge in its plot. However, the plot to this film was way more complex than that, and the intertwining of several plots and stories added a lot to this film. While this film had many of the Western film traits, it showcased them in new and innovative ways. For example, unlike most Western films, the Native Americans in this film are not the bad guys. In fact, the film helps she’s some sympathy on the heartbreak they endured.

My Rating

8.5 out of 10


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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Review (1969)

Synopsis

The true story of fast-draws and wild rides, battles with posses, train and bank robberies, a torrid love affair and a new lease on outlaw life in far away Bolivia. It is also a character study of a remarkable friendship between Butch – possibly the most likeable outlaw in frontier history – and his closest associate, the fabled, ever-dangerous Sundance Kid.

Release date: September 23, 1969

(USA)Director: George Roy Hill

Screenplay: William Goldman

Music composed by: Burt Bacharach

My Review

This film is a creative and entertaining combination of a spaghetti western and comedy while still paying homage to the classic western drama. This film is really unique, especially for its time, and I greatly enjoyed watching it. The plot structure was very well thought out and carefully orchestrated, and the soundtrack of this film was simply amazing. The color grading and camera work was incredible to watch, and although the film is very heavily dialogue based the filmmakers did a good job of keeping the story entertaining and captivating.

As soon as the old film reel clips began rolling at the beginning of the film it became apparent that this film was trying to honor the look and feel of an old western. As the first scene of the movie began to play I was blown away by the black and white color grading, and loved every second of it. However, when the next scene changed to color I found myself a little disappointing. I understand that the film was trying to transition the old western look into modern day, but the lighting and camera work of the first scene was just so jaw dropping.

Don’t get me wrong the rest of the film is shot beautifully, and I love that the cinematography kept long continuous shots using tracking, zoom, and pan instead of overusing quick cuts. I noticed this especially with the dialogue scenes. The only times I noticed lots of quick cuts between shots was during exposition shots.

This film is definitely heavily dialogue based and it reminded me a lot of a Tarantino and Scorsese film in that retrospect. I know lots of people who comment saying that this makes the film boring and lagging at times. However, I didn’t find this to be true with this film. The filmmakers balanced the perfect amount of comedy, action, and dialogue to keep the film entertaining and exciting to watch.

My Rating

7.2/ 10

I would definitely watch this film again, and I recommend everyone give it a watch at least once. Especially if your a fan of the western genre and comedy’s.


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