For a Few Dollars More
- Sergio Leone
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Mortimer has been seen by Indio’s gang, so the plan is that Monco join them as volunteer for a bank robbery, naturally planning a double-cross. Mortimer follows closely, and everything goes according to planned at first. Soon however, both Monco and Mortimer find out that nothing in life is easy, especially when trying to cheat a mastermind like Indio. The consequences won’t be easy for either of them.
As expected from Sergio Leone, after his proved admiration for Akira Kurosawa and especially Yojimbo (1961), of which A Fistful of Dollars (1964) is a remake, the film plays in groups of three at every turn: Three conflicting main characters, three ways the plot could go, and three very clear acts. At first there’s the setup, then there’s the conflict (or should I say, torture), and finally there’s the twist. Right when you think what you’re watching is a crude, inhuman western filled with impersonal shootouts, Leone gives you a real shocker: the characters’ real intentions are not what they seemed, their backgrounds are incredibly dramatic, and a glimpse of their pasts is unbearable. Accompanied by Ennio Morricone’s trademark score, which turns from playful to poignant seamlessly, the plot brings out tears as easily as it brings out outbursts of laughter. A particular musical tune is central to the story, and both Leone and Morricone handle it with unique care and devotion.
This film is a very important contributor to the so-called spaghetti western genre. It kept defining the key elements of said sort of films, with such touches as the long shots and close-ups, the slow setups and quick resolutions, and the background sounds and music. Also present are the intense themes of honor, revenge and authenticity. Outstanding, how the film begins as an average action piece and turns out quite unforgettable after its development.
The performances also come to life as the story goes. Clint Eastwood’s cynical persona is as cool and smooth as expected, strongly contrasted by Van Cleef’s serene complexity and Volonté’s devilish sadness. Also worth noting is Klaus Kinski as one of Indio’s goons, who shares a scene with Van Cleef, where the latter turns on a match using his neck, which is the greatest example of the film’s blend of tension and humor.
Admittedly, this film works more as a bridge between what is usually regarded as the spaghetti western originator and the genre masterpiece, the three of which form the “Dollars” trilogy, but it’s still well worth a look and very important in itself.
“When the music ends, pick up your gun.”
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