My Darling Clementine ★★★★★

In MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, Ford approaches the film's tiny, intimate material in the same poetic mode through which he renders its large, mythic movements - primarily a poeticism of space, atmosphere, faces where the random materials of reality reveal a deeper design and order. This is to say that Monument Valley has never looked quite so forbidding, clouds constantly churning and fog gathering, and we feel an awe in the connection of the largest, most uncontrollable phenomena with a relatively routine Western story, and then as it reveals it's deeper ambiguities, and when it's connection to America's Post-WWII landscape becomes clear, this feeling is replaced by a deeper, more permanent dread. It is to say further however, that in the scene where Wyatt Earp and Clementine walk together to the dance, and Ford shows them simply walking because, Gallagher reports, "he liked to see Henry Fonda walk", there is a similar awe induced by how Ford seems to see the human body as something more sculptural than organic (without ever imposing this category onto it). The hero is revealed as something eternal, enduring and so awe gives way to a deep comfort. To me, this doesn't feel like the films of Hawks where the spontaneous or the arbitrary work to complicate the diegesis and becomes a sort of extra-narrative disclosure of individuality, but instead a kind of way to search for a commonality between all things, to never abandon what's natural but to find ways to show each natural thing in unity with everything else.

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