Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Quick and the Dead

The Quick and the Dead; Western grotesque, USA, 1995; D: Sam Raimi, S: Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio

The Wild West, 19th Century. The mysterious blond Ellen arrives in the small city of Redemption, ruled by the local outlaw John Herod. He killed her father when she was a child, so she only wants revenge. For that occasion, she applies for a quick-draw contest, but since Herod is the fastest shooter he always wins and shoots his opponent, even his own son Kid. Likewise, Herod forces an ex-gangster, now renewed reverend Cort, to join the contest, and Ellen falls in love with him. In a staged duel, Cort "kills" Ellen and goes on a duel with Herod. Just then, she shows up and kills Herod.

After the cult horror trilogy "Evil Dead", director Sam Raimi accepted to helm the unusual, black humorous western "The Quick and the Dead" that seems like a refreshing feminist version of Leone's films "Once Upon a Time in the West" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", representing the negation of its main motive - since the main protagonist is a woman. Even though not especially inspiring, the film is still a cult fun because, unlike "Spider Man", here Raimi has the control, not the producers, which is why the whole story is filled with unusual camera angles and ideas. The best (black humorous) jokes are the ones where citizens literally rob a corpse to its underwear after the duel or when Ellen (very good Sharon Stone) kidnaps the captured Cort to be intimate with him. If Ellen was not so much pushed into the background, Stone would have even achieved an excellent role, yet as it is, the film is still a daft fun, whereas Gene Hackman achieved another memorable performance as the main antagonist.


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