A young boy witnesses his parents' murder. Later, as he grows up, he befriends a bear in the wilderness and the chief of a local Indian tribe, and he stays with the Indians, but makes an ... See full summary »
Carlo Antonelli, an engineer from Genoa, gets mugged and decides to take justice into his own hands. At first the muggers seem to get the upper hand, but then he's helped by Tommy, a young ... See full summary »
Half-breed Keoma returns to his border hometown after service in the Civil War and finds it under the control of Caldwell, an ex-Confederate raider, and his vicious gang of thugs. To make ... See full summary »
On his way back from the Civil War, Johnny Hamilton is visited in his sleep by the ghost of his father who lets him know that he has been murdered and who asks him to avenge him. Back in ... See full summary »
Enzo G. Castellari
In a desolate section of the Sahara once ruled by the French, two thirsty men stumble into the camp of a Tuareg warrior where they're given water and shelter. Soldiers from the new Arab ... See full summary »
In 1864, mercenary Clyde MacKay leads a squad of hard-case cutthroats on a mission for the Confederate high command: infiltrate an enemy fortress and steal a million dollars in gold from the Union Army.
On his way to a concert, Marco, a young jazz trumpet player, pays a visit to an old friend of his and tells his story in a flashback. When he was the young kid of a alcoholic and brutal ... See full summary »
A young boy witnesses his parents' murder. Later, as he grows up, he befriends a bear in the wilderness and the chief of a local Indian tribe, and he stays with the Indians, but makes an enemy of the chief's son. As he enters adulthood he sets out to find the men responsible for his parents' deaths. Written by
The two Men behind the great "Keoma," Enzo G. Castellari and Franco Nero, have here returned to familiar territory with perhaps a broader and more accessible (read: "not quite as good") vision of much the same character. Or at least he has the same hat.
While "Jonathan Degli Orsi" doesn't have the uncompromising, feverish fantasy feel of its predecessor, it is perfectly convincing in its chosen setting, a forested wilderness about to be exploited by a would-be oil magnate (John Saxon) that is currently inhabited by an Indian tribe and their sacred burial ground. Enter Jonathan (Nero), an orphaned white man of Polish descent who has been raised by bears and the aforementioned tribe. After leaving his adoptive family to seek revenge for his parents' murder, a quest which has brought him face to face with the futility of his rage, he returns to his true people, the ones who raised him, only to find them under attack by the world he wants nothing to do with.
And what do you think he does?
This film could be seen as Castellari and Nero's answer to the previous year's "Unforgiven," as it both pays tribute to and meditates on themes of the Western genre; the meditation is coming from a similarly aged and wisened point of view. For my money, this particular meditation/tribute is more clever, more accomplished and has a much wider scope. It is beautifully filmed, excellently acted, and superbly written. It has a soundtrack that, while not having much to do with Spaghetti Westerns, enhances the story quite well. In one way it improves over "Keoma" in that it contains songs with lyrics that actually COMPLIMENT the film rather than taking away from it.
This film's winks and nods to the by-gone "Spaghetti" genre are all quite clever; some of them made me laugh out loud. Watch as Castellari actually provides a real-world explanation for the mysterious fog that always rolls in for the climactic shoot-out. There's also a great scene that I'm sure was meant to evoke "Django the Bastard" as well as plenty of references to the director's own "Keoma." What's really cool, though, is that this film doesn't try to BE a Spaghetti Western while doing this. It finds its own place in the scheme of things. It very much feels like a nineties kind of film, but a damn good one.
Castellari's Peckinpah-style action has come a long way and is a pleasure to watch. The actor who plays Jonathan as a child is quite good and has an uncanny charisma. I would definitely urge fans of "Keoma," Castellari and Nero to seek out this rather difficult-to-find film. Like I said, I was not disappointed.
I would also encourage fans of "Dances With Wolves" type dramas to check out this one and see how it ought to be done.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?