FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE-‘Per Qualche Dollaro in Più’ (1965)

For-a-Few-Dollars-More-1967-movie-poster

“Alive or dead. It’s your choice.”

The second in Sergio Leone’s classic Man With No Name Trilogy, which gave rise to and helped popularise the spaghetti western

This is a classic for sure, Leone shows his immense talent by adding onto the world he created with A Fistful of Dollars. Eastwood plays a bounty hunter who targets homicidal bandit, Indio (played by the brilliant Gian Maria Volante) and finds that he has some competition from another bounty killer, Col Douglas Mortimer (played by the master of the look, Lee Van Cleef).

The violence is quick, shocking and effective, all mood and mise en scene creatively realized. The music by the maestro, Ennio Morricone is just as important; massively influential, it helps create the ambience of the world, all danger and tension.

Support comes in the shape of the famously erratic actor, Klaus Kinski, who commits to his role of the hunchback in a way supporting actors rarely get the chance to (or don’t dare to) nowadays, you could see he was a talent who stands out as a member of Indio’s gang and gets some classic scenes involving the lighting of a match.

There is a scene early on where Eastwood is seeking some information from an old man in bed and it’s clear he is enjoying the performance of this quirky actor, Eastwood smiling throughout the scene which is a pleasant break from the usual cool, show no emotion acting he gives in the rest of the film. It’s a funny scene made brilliant by the Old Prophet, who is played by Austrian character actor, Josef Eggers. He also appeared in A Fistful of Dollars as the undertaker, Piripero-“My mistake. Four coffins…” This was his last film before he passed away a year later. A fine swansong.

Van Cleef is made for his role; he is just as influential as Eastwood when it comes to the style of acting needed for this kind of film. It’s all in the eyes and he has killer ones. Leone paints the screen with beautiful shots that immerse you into this wild west world.

The title “The Man with No Name trilogy” is not quite accurate; he is called ‘Joe’ in A Fistful of Dollars, ‘Manco’ in this one and ‘Blondie’ in The Good The Bad and the Ugly. Manco means ‘one-armed’ in Spanish and here Eastwood does everything with his left hand bar shooting.

The musician J Saul Kane AKA Depth Charge made this tune in 1994 called Bounty Killer containing several quotes from this film:

 

Much has been said of the influences of these films, the looks, the silences, the music, the shots and cinematography, the tension and I could go on. All are a joy to behold.
For a slice of classic western, this is one to see.

4/5

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GOMORRA (2008)

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A gangster film with a difference; gone are the romantic, sweeping strokes of the films we know and love, and in its place is a City of God style realism that takes you to the heart of this violent world.

Based on Roberto Saviano’s best selling account of the Camora, an crime organization in Naples that is akin to the Sicilian Mafia and directed by Mateo Garrone, this incredible film is so engaging for a film that eschews conventional story-telling and in its place gives the audience a documentary style that grabs the viewer and doesn’t let go until the final credits.
Garrone lived for 2 months in the Scampia area that the film takes place in before filming the movie and Saviano, the writer of the book, had to go into hiding after the publication in fear for his life.

The violence is quick and over before you know it, making it all the more visceral and shocking, but it’s the threat of violence that looms over the proceedings that lingers. The estate that much of the film takes place in is steeped in poverty and the residents are trapped in a cycle of war between the gangs that live there.

The word mafia is never used in The Godfather, and the same happens here, Camora is never mentioned.

Gomorrah won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes the year it came out and well-deservedly so. This is a film like few others. It feels like a documentary and this is down to the brilliant editing of Marco Spoletini, the impeccable direction of Garrone but the main honours should go to the actors. Toni Servillo is the only really well-known actor here, the rest are a mixture of seasoned theatre actors and kids from the street (as in City of God).
They are so committed and rooted in reality that you never see the acting and this is testament to Garrone’s direction and their incredible talent.

The last shot is so powerful, it’s been a while since I felt this way at the end of a film.

With the release of the television series, it was finally time to watch this film that has been on my radar since it came out and what an experience it was.

This is a brilliant indictment of the corrupt, broken system that is in place in Naples to this day; brutal, raw and honest.

A must watch.

BUY THE FILM ON BLU RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE

4/5