Movies that are slightly off.
High Plains Drifter
Welcome to Hell
A gunfighting stranger comes to the small settlement of Lago. After gunning down three gunmen who tried to kill him, the townsfolk decide to hire the Stranger to hold off three outlaws who are on their way.
With High Plains Drifter, Clint Eastwood created arguably the most debatable and ambiguous film of his entire career - both as an actor and as a director. There is so much about this eerie western that doesn't get answered. So many details missing. So many presumptions to be made.
Most revisionist westerns of its time were busying themselves rewriting the West as it had been told by Hollywood, mostly wrongly, for over 40 years. Eastwood decided to take the traditional mainstream western, slap it around a while and show that something could still be done with it - just as long as it was willing to change.
It's well known by now that Eastwood's mysterious stranger rides into a town…
The Stranger: All these people, are they your sisters and brothers?
Preacher: They most certainly are.
The Stranger: ...Then you won't mind if they come over and stay at your place, will ya?
And when the preacher's stunned, passive look further betrays his hypocrisy, Eastwood, not content, has the holy man graciously invite the cast-out patrons into his and the other townspeople's homes... not charging them "one cent more than regular hotel rates."
A relentlessly bleak allegory of the human (American?) capacity for cowardice and avarice, with Eastwood's Stranger an almost Chigurh-like supernatural presence – slightly funnier, and only slightly more righteous.
"Yes, they're my neighbors, and they make me sick! Hiding behind words like faith, peace and trust!"
Black-as-pitch western about a community so desperately in need of a violent savior that they give a serial rapist complete control over their town in order to kill off a few bad guys. Turns out they might have bigger problems than the bandits. By giving the man with no name free reign, they expose their own hidden violence and the hypocritical values they've buried it under. They've come together as a community, but at the cost of the lives of other human beings. The unspoken exclusion (of the bandits, of the man with…
Somebody left the door open and the wrong dogs came home.
Everyone probably expected Clint Eastwood's directorial debut to be a western, but he opted to make a thriller in Play Misty for Me instead while ignoring what would have been a sure fire bet. For his sophomore effort, Eastwood might have thought there was no use putting it off, so he directed his first western, except High Plains Drifter is unlike any western Eastwood had starred in before and unlike most westerns ever made.
Don't waste your time on revenge, those that hurt you will eventually face their own karma, right? Well, thank god nobody told Clint.
A malevolently vengeful Eastwood, like the boss he is, rolls into town and Casper spanks everybody in this movie and its glorious.
Another eerily good and entertaining entry from the undisputed heavyweight champion of this beautiful genre. Boo!
I've reviewed High Plains Drifter before and I pretty much echo everything I said in that review, albeit with a few additions.
There has been a mountain of debate over the years about the film's rape scene (it still staggers me that people even question whether it is rape or not) but I think it is a scene that is an ends to a means. High Plains Drifter is a necessarily mean-spirited and problematic western, particularly directed as it is by an icon of the genre. What's interesting, of course, is that Clint Eastwood hadn't even been making westerns for that long, yet he still had enough of a grasp on it to make this scything critique of many of…
High Plains Drifter is a psychological thriller western with a supernatural tone. Clint Eastwood presents a subversion of the western genre. The iconic man with no name and dubious intention drifting into a small town on the edge of civilization takes on a more ominous form. What if the town that needs saving doesn't deserve to be saved?
I love the ambiguity of Eastwood's character. He rides into town in much the same way as any of Sergio Leone's films. However, almost immediately, the viewer is forced to reconsider when, after murdering the town's gunfighters, he drags a woman off the street to a stable and takes her by force. This scene is brutal and effective at throwing the viewer…
What a unique , truly awesome western. I loved its incredibly eerie and unsettling tone , it all felt so original and like nothing I have ever seen. This may actually be my favourite Eastwood film . High Plains Drifter holds such a feeling of ambiguity and daringness to the point of greatness and I really think Eastwood created something fascinatingly new here.
There were so many moments of truly memorable imagery throughout, the final scene in which the entire town is painted red and renamed HELL results in one of my favourite western showdowns of all time with the films eerieness taking full control and almost becoming reminiscent of something you would seem at the climax of a horror film. Not the mention the amazing score.
Inglorious basterds and squinty eyes Jim.
Really liked Eastwood direction, the music and especially the mise en scene. Great cinematography. The contrast of the red buildings of Lago with the desertic landscape really stood out for me.
However, the representation of the female gender is really cringy. Raped, naive, weak. The sexist vision of Eastwood didn't do it for me.
I have to confess that I missed some crucial dialogue in my first viewing of High Plains Drifter. Most of the town being complacent in the death of the former sheriff slipped right past me, so I thought the stranger was just an asshole. It colored my reaction to the film, but now that I re-read the synopsis, the whole thing makes more sense. Anyway, I felt it was a harsh story about sins coming back to haunt. The climax is straight out of a horror film and its excellent. Now that my misunderstanding was cleared up, I think I need to watch this again to do it justice.
Atmospheric, borderline existential Western that has a typical genre set-up, but is anything but typical in its tone and execution. Eastwood isn't a hero, but a malevolent force of nature in the role of the hero, and every single character is of questionable moral stock. There is something vaguely supernatural and eerie about the progression of the story, and the film belies a jaundiced view of human nature, especially in the morally compromised and desperate setting of the Old West. There is a rape scene early in the film, so be warned...it isn't pleasant. But it establishes that Eastwood's "Stranger" is something beyond an anti-hero gunslinger, and as the film moves through its beats, it becomes clear that he's perhaps a manifestation of the darkness around him.
The visuals are striking and surreal at times, and while the script and the acting breaks some of the spell, this is an excellent and confounding film.
A classic, from the moment the mysterious stranger enters the town to the second he leaves this movie is compelling and awesome. My favorite western.
Pretty good western; I'd give it three and a half "yee-haw's" outta five.
"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world." - Raymond Chandler, "The Simple Art of Murder"
I kept thinking of this passage from Chandler's famous essay on detective stories throughout my viewing…
A nasty, brutish western with a supernatural twist. It opens like many a classic Clint Eastwood western. A Man with No Name rides into town, and his mysterious presence immediately causes a stir among the skittish townspeople. He is the meanest bastard Eastwood has ever played, a cold-blooded murderer and rapist. The town has a troubled history. We see flashbacks of its former sheriff being whipped to death by hired killers, while the townspeople stand by and do nothing. Without stating it outright, the film eventually makes it clear that Eastwood is the sheriff's spirit, returned from the grave to seek vengeance and expose the communal sins of this cowardly town. Despite his righteous anger, he's no hero, merely a…
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…