High Plains Drifter

High Plains Drifter ★★★★

The first ever western that Clint Eastwood both directed and starred in, taking notes from his peers Siegel and Leone. Make no mistake that this is no ordinary old-west tale. In fact, it's easily one of the darkest and most bizarre examples of the genre, almost playing like a supernatural ghost story.

Clint plays an unnamed drifter who enters a town named Lago with a dirty secret regarding the death of a Marshall who was whipped to death while the townspeople just stood by and allowed to happen. It's now being threatened by the same group of outlaws who they had locked away for the crime. They are soon to be released, and the stranger agrees to help the needy town once they earn his trust.

Clint's stranger character is an anti-hero in every sense of the word. Within 20 minutes, he commits assault upon a woman who expresses extreme hostility towards his presence, and his dictatorship-like control over the settlement divides the townspeople so much that you have ask the question of whenever his presence is doing more bad than good.

I have to say that despite this being an early directional effort for Eastwood, he managed to pull it off really well. The dark atmosphere (including the disturbing whipping scenes), the great use of locations, the eerie music score, the overall supernatural vibe that makes this very different to other western outings.

I won't say it's my favourite western from Eastwood, but it's easily one of his most mysterious and intriguing. It's a difficult one to describe really, you only need to watch it from start to finish to really appreciate it.


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