Duck, You Sucker! This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 7, 2010
Politics is a complicated, messy, and oftentimes confusing subject. If that's not bad enough, the idea of revolution is even more perplexing. Often glamorized by the apolitical and young-wannabe-anarchists, revolution is usually portrayed as being a heroic, noble, and ideal cause that's led by intellectual and thoughtful individuals. However, as Sergio Leone uncompromisingly states in this film, the revolution isn't "a dinner party, a social event, a literary embroidery, or painting a portrait. The revolution is an act of violence".

In the film, we follow the exploits of two *very* different individuals during the Mexican Revolution. The first, Juan Miranda, is a small-time bandit who robs the occasional group of socialites as he attempts to make his way in life with his family, which is comprised of six sons and his father. The second, Sean (or "John") Mallory, is a former IRA member who's fleeing from the British government, while also attempting to gather up his beliefs after he's become disillusioned with politics. The two only meet by chance, but end up becoming great friends while also becoming involved with the messy large-scale rebellion.

When compared with Leone's previous film, Once Upon a Time in The West, Duck, You Sucker! is a return to the up-tempo nature of Leone's Dollars Trilogy, though it retains the focus on character development and emotional themes. The characters are fantastic, and Juan and Sean play off of each other incredibly well. At first, the characters may appear to be unlikable because of their moral ambiguity, but they quickly become great, fascinating, and hilarious characters who, in the end, go through some pretty heavy stuff. It's quite a sight, and the performances behind these characters are simply fantastic.

Visually, the film's very impressive. It's not as amazing or ground-breaking as Leone's previous films, but they're still the work of a master craftsman. The wide shots, the defining close ups, and all of Leone's signature camerawork can be found here. The visuals are also, due to the subject matter, much more lingering than usual. A specific example of this can be found in Sean's flashback sequences, which are just brilliant examples of beautiful filmmaking.

The whole film is, by far, Leone's most personal and emotional film. In the film, he's criticizing the myth of revolution, he's criticizing 1970's politics, and he's even criticizing his own background. This personal rejection of his background is a very difficult, and very mature, thing to do, and the raw emotion that comes from those decisions can easily be seen in Duck, You Sucker!'s subject matter. Not only that, but Leone showcases the death of the gunslinger in this film. There are no longer any Clint Eastwoods or Charles Bronsons left in the world, and technology is slowly beginning to replace the items and services found previously. For instance, Sean Mallory (James Coburn) rides into this Western, but not on a horse. Instead, Mallory rides into this film on a motorcycle, which he uses occasionally through the film. Also, the old "showdown circles" found in previous Leone westerns are shown to be abandoned and forgotten, with characters walking by these Western trademarks without a moment's notice.

As if the film's material weren't emotional enough, the emotional impact is amplified by the film's very moving score provided by the great Ennio Morricone. With a great new sound, the score feels just as fresh as Morricone's score for A Fistful of Dollars did. It combines natural sound with orchestra and female vocals to create this interesting and enveloping score that's just as touching as the film's characters and subject matter are.

Unfortunately, despite being as amazing as Leone's other films, Duck, You Sucker!'s probably one of Leone's most overlooked films. Whether it's because of the constant title changes (ranging form Keep Your Head Down to Once Upon a Time...The Revolution) or the weighty subject matter, it's just not as well-known as Leone's previous works. It's quite sad, as this film would also be the last Western that Leone ever made in his career.

Duck, You Sucker! is a fantastic film and a great entry for Leone's canon. Though the title may sound a bit lame, the film's anything but that. Filled with great characters, impressive visuals, and a moving score, the film is incredibly touching and an absolute treat.

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