Unforgiven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     It was late one Saturday night, and with nothing else to do, I decided to pull out a movie from my collection and have a seat on the couch. I was looking for some entertainment to pass the time and put in a Clint Eastwood Western called "Unforgiven." Even though I had no intention of rediscovering a cinematic masterpiece, that is precisely what I did. "Unforgiven" pulled me into the late 1870s with a seemingly simple story that has so much beneath its surface.

Clint Eastwood plays William Munny, a man who in his youth was a notorious thief and murderer. Munny is reformed by his deceased wife Claudia, and now lives an honest life with his two children in a shack on the prairie. Unlike the heroes of Eastwood's early westerns, Munny is not a silent, fearless stranger; he is not the Man with No Name of "A Fistful of Dollars." Munny has weaknesses, troubles, and emotions.

A boy claiming to be a ruthless killer, played by Jaimz Woolvett, comes to ask Munny to be his partner in a murder. Two cowboys slashed a prostitute, and the other prostitutes in the brothel put a $1,000 reward on their heads. Munny reluctantly agrees, realizing that he is no farmer and desperately needs the money to support his children. He brings along his old partner, Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman). The three ride into Big Whiskey to complete the job, but must contend with Sheriff Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman). A lawman of ruthless tactics, Daggett despises assassins and pursues the trio to the film's fiery conclusion.

Most impressively, "Unforgiven" is not just a shoot 'em up Western. The hero doesn't wear white, and the lawmen aren't necessarily good. In fact, Mun-ny is not a hero at all; he is just a man. The film also confronts men's fears, and the truth of crime.

The actual filming is equally amazing. The movie received four Oscars in 1992, including best picture and best director. The amazing shots of the rugged landscape are perfect, and the sets are authentic. The costumes also portray the era with no rhinestones or sparkly boots.

Brilliant performances by the entire cast bring incredible life to characters who are intricate, yet wholly plausible. The web of interesting lives and intricate characterizations could almost carry the film on their own.

The only charge I can bring against "Unforgiven" is that it can be, at times, slow. Those who want to see a film of constant action with blazing guns will be disappointed. But this is more like a work of art. The pacing is perfect, morally and thematically. Simply put, "Unforgiven" is a masterpiece of modern film-making - a movie everyone should see.

I give it a perfect five out of five smoking guns.

This movie is rated R.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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