XL Popcorn: Once Upon A Time In The West

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 436/1007Title: C’era una volta il West (Once Upon A Time In The West)
Director: Sergio Leone
Year: 1968
Country: Italy/USA

It was my own fault for being disappointed by this film. Two years ago I would have probably liked this a lot more. Back before I started finding westerns that I really enjoyed. Back before I started reading about the best westerns out there. Back before I had even heard of this film or been recommended it by my mum.

Once Upon A Time In The West, a film widely regarded as one of the best westerns of all time (with The Searchers taking the number one slot on most polls) managed to leave me feeling like I had missed something.

I enjoyed so many of the elements of this. The huge and prolonged tension that leads to a sudden explosion of violence (something I have seen employed in a lot of Japanese cinema). The amazing music with themes for every major character, and the rich back stories that informed how it would sound. The entire storyline and pay-off for Charles Bronson’s character was amazing, especially the ending!

Now, to put this into context. I say I am disappointed and yet I am being positive. In fact, in my ratings on IMDB I gave it an 8 out of 10. I just guess that for a film that had such great word of mouth it should have done better in my opinions.

Maybe the way that the sole female main character was written did not help in this, she is strong and yet very bendable to the whims of the surrounding sexism. I guess it’s how you survived in such a time… but she really vacillated between extreme strength and weakness, which did not sit right with me.

And that the whole thing of it in summation. Despite so much greatness there were enough things left niggling at the back of my mind that meant I could not enjoy this as much as I wanted to. Maybe it will be worth a re-watch in the future.

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