Apr 18, 2011

Movies with Balls: High Plains Drifter

4:59 PM


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Pretty much any Clint Eastwood film qualifies as a Movie with Balls (no Bridges of Madison County), but we're kicking things off with his first attempt at directing a Western - High Plains Drifter.

As great as the Western genre is, most follow a fairly standard template: The protagonist is on a mission, kicks a lot of ass, runs into trouble and looks beat, overcomes the obstacle and finally wins the day. No matter how cunning and bad-ass the hero/antihero is, he's gotta be knocked down before he can kill the villain, collect his spoils and leave a busty woman behind to ride into another town and do it all over again.


http://theclinteastwoodarchive.blogspot.com

High Plains Drifter, not so much. While the film starts off in a familiar way, with Eastwood (billed as The Stranger, capitalizing on his Man with No Name days) riding into the town of Lago under the watchful eye of the paranoid local residents, it veers off into something preternatural. It's not clear what The Stranger is doing in Lago, besides having his way with the local floozy and getting his drink on. None of his challengers can lay a hand on him. And is the guy getting whipped to death in the flashbacks supposed to be The Stranger's friend, brother or what?

High Plains Drifter offers up a few clues along the way, then comes roaring to a close. After spending most of the film making a mockery of this town full of pansies and dispatching anyone who disagrees too ardently with his methods, The Stranger allows a group of mercenaries to ravage the place. Then, as the town's weak-willed men submit and their women weep, The Stranger returns with whip in hand, fires blazing behind him and revenge by the cruelest possible methods on his mind.

Once The Stranger has rendered his full judgement on Lago, all that remains are decimated buildings, a despondent citizenry and a dwarf named Mordecai serving as both mayor and sheriff.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 sets of balls




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Trey
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