Once Upon a Time in the West
There may not be many Spaghetti Westerns on offer these days, but their iconic style will forever be etched into advertising and movie plot lines everywhere. When you think of western movies you often think tumbleweed, sideways glancing cowboys and that all too familiar eeeooooeeeoooowweeeee wah wah waaaaahhhh..
Its widely regarded that one of the most iconic Spaghetti Westerns is in fact an Italian job by Sergio Leone. Once Upon a Time in the West packs a cast of equally iconic actors in a time where the railroad is heading west. Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale lead the charge in a tale of revenge and greed.
Flagstone is a small town on the edge of the western train line. Its inhabitants include ordinary town folk, those wishing to make their mark in an ever changing society and outlaws trying to cheat the system. Beyond Flagstone is a piece of land with no major significance, named Sweetwater. What appears to be a useless piece of land has become a focal point for honest folk, over ambitious businessmen and outlaws (both honest and bad).
This film is beyond epic. It takes epic to a whole new level. However be warned. This film has a pace modern movie goers will not be accustom to. There are a number of very lengthy periods of the film where it seems nothing happens. During the film I often wondered why this was the case, checking my watch to see that in fact time had not stood still. But that’s where the magic is for this film, the lengthy scene setting. For Sergio Leone the scenes preceding major events were more vital than the events themselves. The history around this film is worth a read too (wikipedia link).
While the plot is somewhat basic, the characters are extremely well done and bring a depth to this film rarely seen in anything on the market today. So take a big bucket of popcorn in with you and immerse yourself in the west, because apart from the fact there is no tumble weed in the cinemas this certainly feels like your in the middle of Flagstone.
Reviewed by: Urbankiwi