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THE intelligent western,
This review is from: Unforgiven - 10th Anniversary Edition [DVD]  (DVD)
This 2 disc special edition of the academy award winning film directed by Clint Eastwood is exactly what 'movie fans' have been waiting for. Its been impossible to hear anything about the man so comfortable in front of and behind the camera on any of his DVD releases until now, and although there's no 'director comentary' from the man himself theres plenty to rectify that omision.
The DVD itself is still lacking slightly in quality. The sound suffers from the rise and fall syndrome often experienced with old VCR's and although its not severe enough to detract from the film its the kind of detail you'd think they'd sort out for a 2 disc special edition. The film commentary is by Richard Schickel (authorised biographer and friend of Clint Eastwood) and is a very good one with plenty of anecdotes and insights to the creation of this film and the director himself. The second disc is the motherload. A new documentary on the making of the film, the original documentary, a 'featurette' on Eastwood himself and the 'Eastwood on Eastwood' 1997 documentary on the directors career narrated by John Cusack all go to making this THE Eastwood DVD to have. As a bonus Eastwoods one and only role in an episode of the TV series Maverick is included on this formidable extras DVD. It was soon after this that he was seen regularly in the Rawhide TV series.
The story itself is not greatly original- how many films have revolved around the 'one last job' from the retired gangster/ hitman/ ex special forces operative etc., only to have it all go wrong in the execution of the plan. Eastwood himself has taken this role a couple of times (Firefox, Josey Wales) and it is a staple plot drive from hollywood.
With Eastwood in the directors chair, this basic story becomes much, much more. Unforgiven is all about the characters and how they deal with the consequences of their actions and their following guilt. Eastwoods direction is aided by a stellar supporting cast including an award winning performance from Gene Hackman. It would be wrong of me not to mention also that Richard Harris, almost in cameo here as the gunslinger English Bob, shows again the talent that has seen him in so many diverse roles over the years. A power house of British talent who was only now getting the recognition he deserved, Richard Harris will be sorely missed.