What To Drink While Watching “Unforgiven”



Heen says:


This film comes into the category of films called “I always wanted to see it but never got round to”. Set in 1880, it was filmed in1992, but it could have been made in the sixties or today, thanks to its “universal” nature, that kind of  uchronia  that director Clint Eastwood feeds into the story. Human nature, basic emotions, eternal themes, call it what you will, it’s all dealt with in a way that defies cinematographic thematic development as a continuum of static/ongoing temporality versus the Human Condition.


Very few people I know who watch films have not seen this film, so this paragraph is just for the lazy few, like myself, who were otherwise occupied in the heady days of the early 90’s. The film is about a retired gunman (Eastman) who decides to do a last job because he’s a bit short of cash. (He’s got two kids and a pig farm to bring up on his own, since his wife died after teaching him the error of his ways.) The details of who he is supposed to kill, and why, and who with, and what happens once he has made his choice, are actually distracting. I would have preferred the film to dwell longer on the ruminations of this man, before mounting his horse and loading his gun, weighing up things and balancing them out, but Clint’s character is a man of deeds, and a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, regardless of how he came to that conclusion. (If this were a Japanese film, for instance, Clint–san would go into a moody phase lasting several years; he would beat his children, be haunted by his wife’s ghost and suddenly charge off and massacre everybody in sight, screaming and gasping.)


Maybe I shouldn’t say the rest of the film is distracting. Clint and his pals reluctantly get the job done but the sheriff  kills one of them so Clint has to shoot half a dozen people in the saloon (his Tokyo moment). Not much rumination there, either, because by this time he’s downed a bottle of whiskey. In the end, he pockets the reward and returns to his two kids and they all live happily ever after, without the pigs which were poorly anyway.


Piña colada. From the opening scene, where the cowboy slashes the prostitute’s face with his Swiss army knife, to the final credits, it’s the only drink that makes sense. Clint Eastwood is practically begging the viewer to drink a piña colada or three at several points in the film. Don’t ask me why. Just do it. Go on. Yes, I mean it. I’m quite serious here. Trust me. Stop reading now.


I read the other day that all blog entries are one paragraph too long, so you shouldn’t be reading this bit. That’s why the last paragraph finishes with “Stop reading now”, but you just ignored it, didn’t you. The reason why piña colada is the ideal accompaniment to “Unforgiven” comes in the next paragraph, which I have deleted because, as I’ve already told you, this post is too long already. Sorry, but that’s the way it goes.


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