Cemetery Without Crosses

Cemetery Without Crosses ★★★★½

One of the all-time great Spaghetti Westerns, maybe even bleaker than THE GREAT SILENCE, this desolate-looking opera of pulpy, profound hopelessness. Portraits of long-gone relatives with their blankly scornful faces take up equal space in frames with the characters' perpetually miserable ones, reaching some terrible emotional apex as the two leads (a widow and the ex-lover she's hired to avenge her husband's murder) lock eyes in an empty thoroughfare, suddenly united in both utter self-loathing and momentary realization of the futility of their mutually wasted lives while they allow something truly awful to happen just a few feet away. The whole movie exists in this deserted, windblown, almost post-apocalyptic desert, like life was so cheap that everything's already gone and there's nobody even left to bury the dead. Plus there's a killer theme song sung by Scott Walker.

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