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Review: The Great Silence

Celebrated the successful completion of another job with a screening of The Great Silence at Film Forum (even though it doesn’t support MoviePass for some reason…). 

Sergio Corbucci’s dark, nihilistic deconstruction of the mythology and iconography of the Western has been a personal favorite of mine since I discovered it back in college (on an imported DVD presented by Repo Man director Alex Cox), and this restoration only improves it; the clearer picture quality reveals breathtaking compositions that rival the cinematography in Leone’s Dollars Trilogy—the barren, snow-blanketed mountains of Utah have never looked more frigid and foreboding.

Of course, the story and themes remain the film’s strongest features (besides Ennio Morricone’s mournful score). Jean-Louis Trintignant’s eponymous mute gunslinger and Klaus Kinski’s gleefully deranged bounty killer are still the most compelling hero/villain pair I’ve ever encountered; both men are intimately familiar with the “rules” of the genre and how to manipulate them to their advantage, leading to a deliciously tense conflict that pits our protagonist’s borderline suicidal altruism against his foe’s barely restrained temper. I’m glad I was able to finally experience it on the big screen, in all its hauntingly depressing splendor.

[Originally written April 8, 2018.]

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