Film Club Review – Once Upon a Time in the West
Sergio Leone looooves his music. And its very important to his style of film-making. He is an expert in drawing out tension from scenes and hitting just the right amount of importance for certain moments with the right notes of music. Once Upon a Time in the West has a lot of that, which makes for some very atmospheric scenes, but they also drag the movie on to a running time well past what the story dictates. I mean, it takes up 40 minutes just for character introductions! But I get it.
The story follows a newlywed woman Jill who returns to her husbands homestead to find him murdered. I was confused because from the previous scenes I thought this man was already wed with a kid. Whatever. The point it that there is a whole conspiracy around the killing which has to do with property around the railway.
Aside from Jill we get three other main characters; Frank played by Henry Fonda, Cheyanne played by Jason Robards, and the other guy played by Charles Bronson. They are all distinct and very enjoyable characters played by very watchable actors. I liked the Cheyanne character the best myself.
Despite its laborious start, I ended up really growing into this movie. There’s some great scenes on the train and a cool shootout in the town as well as some just great conversation pieces between the characters. It also looked great, like a typical western with with a little more style and finesse to everything.
Damn, that harmonica was annoying though.