Man of the West ★★★★★

I had the somewhat rare pleasure of going into this film mostly sight unseen - I had skimmed perhaps a one sentence plot summary, but since I'm on a Western kick I didn't feel like I needed any more than that to be sold.

As the story began to reveal itself I became stunned. This film features a peculiar sort of emotional narrative that is bizarrely relevant to one of the main arcs of my own life. As a small child I was brought under the wing of someone 16 years my senior. Up until my early adolescence the mentorship I had with this guy was the primary dynamic in my life, as I was an only child with parents who didn't give a damn about me and few friends. I was totally dependent on him. He helped shape most of my interests and worldviews. He was also very controlling and often espoused a very cruel and grim worldview.

Eventually I became an independent young person and my whatever-you-want-to-call it-relationship with this person was severed. It seemed that if I was not willing to be solely defined by my role as the kid sidekick, whatever dynamic existed had to die.

So, with that in my history, coming to the point in the film where a ghostly, garish Lee J. Cobb recites the following...

"I remember the day you left me. Ho-ho, lord, do I remember. You were my right arm. You ran off and left me. God have mercy on my black blooded soul. Ha-ha-ha. I was so mad. I could take and push your guts right out through your back. And I would've done it too. So help me, if you'd a been standin' there. Raaaa! Ha-ha. I'd of opened you up wide. My right arm. Trained by me. Oh, I put a piece of work into you. Every last idea that shot through your head was mine. I remember every bloody minute of it."

...was quite unlike anything I've experienced before at the movies. And that's only about 15 or 20 minutes in. The rest of the film continued to put my heart through the wringer. My God. The greatest genre of them all, surely.