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  • Lance Mannion
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The end of the movie is more than slightly ridiculous - it's completely awful and destroys the picture, which up till that point had been moderately successful. The surreal patent medicine wagon? What was that nonsense all about? To me, it felt like an excuse to have a cameo for Angelica Huston. It made no sense - the movie up till that moment was brutally realistic. Unless the two protagonists were actually both dead at the end and it's their ghosts walking into the simply doesn't make moral sense for Gideon to forgive Carver, who's ruthlessly murdered several other people - some essentially pointlessly - in the film simply to indulge in his monomania. (Gideon kills people in the movie as well, but all of them are people attempting to murder him).



Actually, I agree with you about those last scenes. They were off-tone and out of keeping with the rest of the movie, plus I thought the director was using them to cheat. I thought he was putting Huston's character out where she wouldn't be so that he didn't have to bring Carver and Gideon into a town or to a trading post to meet up with her, where they might have to deal with the law and, incidentally, a bunch of other characters played by actors whose salaries he couldn't afford to pay on sets he didn't have the money to build---the movie looks like it was shot on a pretty tight budget.

But I guess I was in a forgiving mood when I watched it---I like most anything I watch after midnight---so the ending didn't ruin the movie for me.


It's a chase movie: the payoff, when the two protagonists confront each other at the end of any chase movie, is quite important. I haven't seen too many chase movies ( the chase of course being quite often used in the Western) that were reasonably good up till those last moments and then completely blow it with indefensible nonsense.

The movie does not show the characters as morally equivalent (Carver is pretty clearly one very nasty guy, while Gideon generally operates comparatively ethically) and then ends with both of them walking together into the sunset? The major reason Carver is amenable to that is because pretty clearly Gideon is the better gunfighter, and Carver's in no state at the end of the movie to actually succeed in killing Gideon. Certainly, there's an argument that Carver is morally changed by Gideon refusing to kill him when he had the chance to do so, I.E. it makes sense for Gideon to excuse Carver just for chasing him, but why should that excuse Carver's other crimes?


It appears you are saying that the "self-pity and baseless sense of moral superiority" of the Western/American character are actually traits of the postbellum Southern character. If the "Southern character" can be further equated with the evangelical fundamentalist character, with its poor-little-persecuted-Christian attitudes, I'd be inclined to agree.

Interesting that it takes a couple of Irish actors to tell the story of the American West. I'm not big on Westerns, but this one sounds pretty good. Lance, you make everything you like sound good.



When you wrote that "Carver has not a thought for anything or anybody but his own mission and therefore tends to treat people more directly as means to his ends," and that "[h]e puts all the blame on Gideon as if Gideon had simply decided to do him a terrible wrong for sport," and that Carver has a "sense of agrievement without a sense of responsibility," and that he's full of "[s]elf-pity and a baseless sense of moral superiority," I thought you were going somewhere else with that.

Carver is Ahab.

You're right. Carver's characteristics aren't Southern. I would say they are human, but I wouldn't complain too much if you said they were American. It sounds like the movie was inspired by one of the Great American Novels.

Sunny Jim

Lance - Just a note to echo the sentiments of Stinger: Not only do you make everything you like sound good, your reviews go into a depth and analysis that make their subject matter interesting and worthwhile. And for me the list of interesting and worthwhile things coming out of Hollywood these days becomes shorter and shorter. I'm sure I speak for many with this note of thanks, extended also to your wife who must put up with your daily toils on "that damn computer"!

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