The Shooting [DVD]
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Western starring Jack Nicholson and Warren Oates. Willett Gashade (Oates) is an ex-bounty hunter who returns home and is met by Coley (Will Hutchins), a cowboy who has just witnessed the death of his best friend. When a mysterious woman (Millie Perkins) arrives, Gashade and Coley agree to escort her through the Utah desert but things turn nasty when a ruthless bounty hunter (Jack Nicholson) joins the party.
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This is a wonderful movie and I encourage anyone with an interest in alternative Westerns, existentialist films or American independent cinema (of which Monte Hellman was a leading figure), or anyone who's a fan of the great Warren Oates, to see it as soon as possible.
However, be wary of the Pegasus Entertainment release. The film is in widescreen but it is not anamorphic and the picture quality is pretty dire. One need only look at the front cover to get some idea of this distributor's level of respect for the films it releases. Jack Nicholson is pretty short and fairly lithe, right? Well, not according to the front of this DVD, which has his face carelessly plopped on top of a broad, stocky body which has itself been careless plopped against a Western background. Think that's funny? On the back on the DVD is the picture from which they removed his face, and you'll notice that his body is facing in a different direction, which explains why he appears to have no neck on the front. I have no idea who the other person on the front is meant to be, but he sure ain't in the film.
This "artwork" serves as a pretty apt metaphor for the way Pegasus Entertainment have treated the film. I have also seen their release of Vengeance Valley, which is equally dreadful.
If you're able to play Region A blu-rays, I implore you to pick up the Criterion release of this (a double-feature with Hellman's vastly inferior "Ride In The Whirlwind", which Nicholson wrote and co-stars in). If not, there exists a UK DVD release from Cinema Club (with a real picture of Nicholson on the front) which is anamorphic and is infinitely superior in quality. So be sure to pick that one up.
The film concerns a bounty hunter played by Warren Oates who helps a mysterious woman on a journey through the desert. They are joined by a ruthless hired gun played by Jack Nicholson, who seemed to be rehearsing for his later role in "The Departed". They end up pursuing an unseen quarry with whom the woman wishes to conclude some murderous business. I will not be giving too much away by saying that we end with a shooting.
This film has been described as an existential Western which is a phrase I have had to look up in the dictionary. It turns out to be a philosophy stressing the importance of responsibility and the free agency of an individual in a seemingly meaningless universe. Personally I prefer a God to believe in any day, and I am still unsure as to where the film fits into this description. It sits strangely between the traditional Western and the oddball excesses of the Italian Western. It is a rather bizarre experiment that does not quite work for me. The woman is extremely irritating when she fires her gun off every two seconds to aid Nicholson in tracking them. He was obviously not of the old Western tracking school.Read more ›
In this film Nicholson plays a ruthless bounty hunter who pits his wits against other bounty hunters with bloody results, hos menacing demeanor has an effect on everyone he meets, all is not what it seems ,A Dark western that will keep you guessing to the very end,
I think the most exciting thing about it was the title.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
not a very good film.most of it must have found its way to the cutting room floor.very disjointed.not really worth the viewingPublished on 30 Mar. 2011 by dicktemplate