The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

the-outlaw-josey-wales

Josey Wales is a farmer who joins the Southern rebels when his family is butchered by Unionist raiders, only to see his friends murdered when they try to surrender at the end of the war. While on the run from their now state sanctioned killers, he encounters and befriends an entourage of oddballs and misfits who become his surrogate family.

Being yet another great western from Clint Eastwood, he directs the film with real conviction probably more in the no nonsense style of Don “Dirty Harry” Siegel than Sergio Leone, but the result is an affecting and hugely likeable story. The first half hour is that of a fairly generic revenge western, but things come to life at the appearance of Chief Dan George who brings real warmth and humour to his character; a kind of deconstructed portrait of the noble savage who is dismayed at his waning powers when faced with old age and “civilisation”. Clint is also at his laconic best, of course adept at the machismo-fuelled gun play, but also bringing real humanity to a man who finds more to live for than vengeance.

Great stuff.

8/10

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