Thursday, May 01, 2008

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo

Being homebound after a lovely 10 day stay in hospital which cost me about a foot of my colon, I have had the extreme pleasure of getting to watch the good the bad and the ugly twice in the last 2 days. I have to say it is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. It gets better (and somehow sadder) each time I watch it. Clearly, Sergio Leone was a genius even if he was Italian. Now clearly the "good" character played with perfection by one of my personal heroes Clint Eastwood, is the most famous character. Playing the "Man with No Name" with the fewest words possible our boy Clint delivers a masterful performance. However, to me the true "hero" of the film is Eli Wallach a.k.a. "the ugly." Played with zest and robustness Tuco is a Mexican bandit that is the personification of us all. Lee Van Cleef plays "the bad" a.k.a. Angel Eyes. Truth be told the line between all three of these guys if pretty thin. Blondie (as Tuco calls Clint Eastwood's character) is no saint. He freely indulges in a money making scheme with Tuco, and when that has, in his opinion, reached it zenith he leaves Tuco to die out in the desert. Not what you would call a sterling fellow. Angel Eyes leaves his own trail of death and destruction behind him, but as with all the characters is in the pursuit of the lost $200,000 in gold that motivates him. At its core this is an anti-war film, the needless slaughter of the bridge scene, and the characters reaction to it show that Leone had a point to make about war and its madness. Throughout it all, Tuco steals the show his is the most developed character of the film. We know nothing of Blondie or Angel Eyes' family or past, but we get to see Tuco's brother, and heard his explanation of why he turned out "ugly." He is the most human; "Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Tuco." Showing that humans cannot be either all good or all bad, and that most of us are just ugly.

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