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Unforgiven (1992)

By Heather Joslyn | Posted

Arguably the bleakest film ever to win the Best Picture Oscar, Clint Eastwood's 1992 masterpiece is a Western that demythologizes both the Old West and the very American idea that justice can be achieved through committing murder. Director Eastwood plays William Munny, a widower who's raising two kids on his struggling farm and trying to resist the temptations of his gunslinger past. For a desperately needed $500, he agrees to help his old friend Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and a novice badass who calls himself "The Schofield Kid" (Jaimz Woolvett) kill a pair of cowboys who mutilated a young prostitute. Along the way, he tangles with brutal lawman Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman, Oscared as Best Supporting Actor). Unforgiven is an epilogue to Eastwood's career as an icon of Western gun culture, and something of an apologia for it; when Munny returns to his violent ways, the director conveys the gathering gloom with mud, dark, and pounding rain. The unsentimental direction is matched by David Webb Peoples' tough-minded script, studded with such pithy meditations on mortality as "We've all got it coming, kid."

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