Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the plain Dumb

Okay, so I may have finally watched the worst Western ever made.

Set in the snowbound mountains of the semi-old West, The Great Silence is the story of what seems like the entire male population of Northern Utah, who have had a price put on their heads (presumably on account of their wooden acting and god-awful fake american accents) and are now being mercilessly hunted by a gang of...errr...make that one ruthless bounty hunter. Into this mayhem of gunsmoke, desperate men and overacting women in low-cut dresses, comes Silence, a grim-eyed, steely jawed gunfighter who shall prove the champion of justice in this wild and barren land, wreaking six-shooter havoc on the evil bounty hunters [1]. Silence's general motto is to shoot first (though always in self-defense - a trick he manages by letting the other guy point a gun at him and then beating him at the draw) and not talk at all, which seems like a pretty cool idea until you realize that this means that bystanders have to fill you in on the story and explain what Silence was trying to say or do - all in the most grotesquely self-conscious dialog since Ben Hur. This is worse than a Spaghetti Western. It's more like what you end up with when you get a trained pasta chef to make grits.

Why was I watching it in the first place, you ask? Because it stars (and this is what makes the grown cine-fan in me want to break down and cry) Klaus Kinski and Jean-Louis Trintignant. That, to me, is more star power than Ocean's 13.

And what a sheer, senseless waste of talent it is. To be fair, Kinski does fine as a deranged psychopathic bounty hunter (aptly called Loco) - it's a role the man could sleepwalk through, and he delivers a performance that looks like a poor man's version of his role in Cobra Verde [2]. Trintignant, on the other hand, is hopelessly miscast as Silence. I mean, seriously, who makes a film with Trintignant in it where the man gets no dialog and is expected to stand around looking lethal (which, in his case, mostly means looking unshaven). Aaargghh!

[1] Why the gang of 'bandits' don't just kill off the bounty hunters (whom they seem to outnumber 10 to 1) is not clear. There's some talk about it ruining their chances for an amnesty, but such scruples don't seem to stop Silence much, and besides, you can't tell me that they couldn't just have the bounty hunters 'disappear'.

[2] This, of course, has its own problems - mostly because the plot repeatedly involves people believing Loco when he says he'll let them live and then being surprised / betrayed when he kills them after all. Never mind that you'd think they would figure this out eventually, can you seriously imagine anyone in his right mind taking one look at this man and thinking "he seems like a regular guy, I think I'll trust him with my life". Come on.


Anonymous said...

From Bess:
Jean-Louis Trintignant...have you seen La Cite des Enfants Perdues?

Space Bar said...

Aha! :D

But Kinski's acted in some seriously bad films, didn't you know? He famously said, I'm a whore-you pay me and I'll do whatever you want.(paraphrase)
Which reminds me...have you seen his Paganini?

The Black Mamba said...

hey, don't diss the entire genre man.

I can see how the director might have been tempted to make one with Trintignant in it - after all remote car-racer is just a step away from an avenging bounty-hunting loner. (he just forgot the bit about wasting a talented actor). (also if the grown cine-fan in you ... hehehe... can bare it, check out Tombstone with Kilmer)

Atleast give the film some credit for trying - they even got Morricone to do the scores.

and reg. Kinski, with you Spacebar.

km said...

I suddenly feel like watching "Blazing Saddles" again.

Kits said...

I watched the Good,Bad n Ugly..reminded me of saas bahu serial with the background score repeating 10 million times and every shot being directed towards the eyes of the concerned protagonists. Love Clinty though :)