Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West ★★★★★

Sergio Leone’s epic western Once Upon a Time in the West informs a tale of the consequence of loss together with the exploration for vengeance and sketches an across-the-board picture that while deliverance might be achieved, it can never bring back what's been taken away. Tonino Delli Colli’s cinematography ensures that it's a beautifully shot film from beginning to end with stunningly composed unhurried scenes with very little dialogue, and Leon gives prominence to the evil and bravado of masculinity into the narrative.

The cast and performances are uniformly fantastic, with Henry Fonda cast against type as villain Frank, and Claudia Cardinale as Jill McCain who's much more than the conventional one-dimensional female character often found within the Western genre. There’s also an entrenched sadness in the film that is compressed with feelings of grief, and Ennio Morricone contributes an excellent score which reflects the personalities of the characters. Additionally, despite its nearly three-hour runtime, it feels like it's over much too quickly.

Paul Elliott liked this review