The Japanese ambassador is traveling through the Wild West by train, when gangsters hold up the train, to rob a gold shipment. They also carry an ancient Japanese sword the ambassador was ... See full summary »
A stranger rides out of the hot desert into a small town in the wild west. The towns people are scared of him, and 3 gunmen try, unsuccessfully, to kill him. He takes a room and decides to stay. Meanwhile, a group of outlaws are about to return to the town and take their revenge - will the towns leaders convince the mysterious man to help ? Written by
Colin Tinto <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"High Plains Drifter" is probably Clint Eastwood's darkest western and that says quite a bit. It has similarities with "Pale Rider", his other western gem. The hero is a mysterious, ghost-like figure and he fights against the evil and corruption that infests a small town in the middle of nowhere. What sets these two films apart is that here Eastwood is fighting a lone battle , and his only sidekick is the midget Mordecai, while almost all other inhabitants of Lago are corrupted or/and cowardly.
Eastwood delivers one of his strongest performances here and manages to be charming and humorous besides exacting cool-blooded vengeance. His interactions with the two women (Marianna Hill and Verna Bloom, both solid in their roles) who are very different draws comparisons to his earlier film "Hang 'Em High". But what sets this apart from the typical Eastwood fare is the dark nature of this movie. Anthony James, the man with the unforgettable face, is once again back as one of the main villains. The rest of the cast are quite forgettable and lesser known names, which adds credibility to this movie, making it a film to be taken seriously and not just a gathering of famous faces.
This film's perhaps strongest asset is the excellent screenplay by Ernest Tidyman, the Oscar-winner for "French Connection" and it is probably the best screenplay ever written for an Eastwood-directed western. The storyline never ceases to surprise and is full of suspense and great dialogue. As always, Clint knew who to pick. As always in the Clint films, this movie is not about love. Clint and Bloom's affair almost results in love, but it never gets the chance to develop. The surprise ending adds a great touch. This film really is a delight for fans of Clint Eastwood and unusual, film-noirish westerns.
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