"Unforgiven" is much more than a breathtaking Western, it's an amazing film altogether. With elements of drama and film noir, this is a picture that shows us that there are some demons you can never put to rest, no matter how hard you try.
Clint Eastwood stars as William Munny, a once notorious and violent killer and thief. If Munny didn't like you, chances were that you wouldn't live long enough for him to tell you so. However, that was in the old days. Now, he's just a quiet and tired farmer who is a devoted father still in mourning of his dead wife. He's been straight for years and is trying to put all of his demons to rest, but you still get the feeling that no matter how hard he tries, he will always be haunted. An opportunity comes to him in the name of 'The Schofield Kid.' He gives him a chance to be his partner and have him help on a bounty. Knowing that the money could help his family out, Munny finally decides to take the Kid up on the offer. He also brings with him Ned Logan; an old friend and partner. Little Bill Daggett is the Sheriff in town, and the thing he hates most are assassins. He will do anything in his power to take care of them and make sure they do not succeed on their killing. The last remaining part of the film stands out the most and is so well executed that it catches you off guard.
This really is a great film and it surprised me like I would've never expected. I don't like Westerns all that much, but this isn't your typical Western. That is probably why I enjoyed it so much. There is so much story and character development. You really are able to sympathize with Munny, despite his dark and violent past. You want him to be able to get on with his life and forget the past, although you know deep down that things will never be put to rest, and agreeing to go on this bounty only increases the chance of Munny returning back to his old ways. This isn't a Western where the line between good guys and bad guys are clear and the storyline is simple; good guy kills bad guys and gets the girl in the end. No, you won't find any of this here. In this story there are no clear good guys or bad guys, just regular people. This is a real story with real characters that you can feel for. There is a huge issue of morality that takes place, which is something you don't see much in Westerns.
Not only does Eastwood do a terrific job in acting, he also does an amazing job as director. He's a man with vision, and who more qualified to direct a film of this magnitude. I don't think the film would had been as successful had it been done by someone else. The cast is also outstanding. Morgan Freeman really does his role justice. Gene Hackman spreads fear inside of you as the mean and tough Sheriff. Richard Harris also deserves mention for his part as well. (He is sorely missed. He was a very gifted actor.) Everyone really did great in their roles and really knew how to bring the film together.
This new DVD edition really does the movie justice. Though it may not have the most special features, the one feature that stands out the most is the new digital transfer that really makes the picture look crystal clear. The sound is also very impressive as well. Special features included are as follows: Audio commentary by Film Critic and Eastwood Biographer Richard Schickel, Eastwood film highlights, awards list, trailer, and 4 documentaries.
"Unforgiven" is really a spectacular film that deserved the Academy Awards for "Best Picture" and "Best Director." And it is a true masterpiece in my eyes. I think anyone who is a lover of films should give this one a try. Remember, you do not have to be a Western fan to enjoy this, because I am certainly not one. Some people may be disappointed in the lack of action or shoot-outs, but the film is about so much more. It's about morals and trying to put the past to rest. It's also about accepting who you are and that there are some things you will never be able to change, no matter how hard you try. This will end up being one of my favorites in no time. I was very surprised, indeed.