For a Few Dollars More Review

Ennio Morricone screeches out and into the ears of those that view For a Few Dollars More. He, like director Sergio Leone and star Clint Eastwood, is synonymous not just with the spaghetti western genre but with what it stood for. What the characters represented, how the tone and style were dictated by framing and sound and why it was so important for the Dollars Trilogy so far. Eastwood steamrolled the genre with a fine setlist of outings, and For a Few Dollars More may be his best of all. The doubts of cowardly bankers and sinful protagonists are captivated well and shown to have a limited, underlining humour to them. It shines through with sharp wit and a desire to bring out the worst emotions in the best of performers. 

As clear an Eastwood vehicle this may be, it is the work of Lee Van Cleef that stands out in For a Few Dollars More. He is the darker, brooding figure that does what he wants and has a gun to explain why he does it. His lack of dialogue in his opening hike through another dusty town is exceptional. Music and action go hand in hand, the piano player stopping to turn his head as Cleef’s Douglas Mortimer saunters into the saloon is fantastic, even if it does now have to put up a fight against the stereotypical realisation of westerns and head-turning appearances. But Cleef portrays a walking stereotype and that is the best aspect of his character. The formidable military man walks into town and starts shooting down wanted men. The introduction of Eastwood’s ever-dour Manco is just as mysterious and heightened in tension.  

That is what a western should be, certainly a spaghetti western with a knack for killing and a pace like no other. Leone does not surprise in this pace but improves vastly on the first Eastwood pairing, A Fistful of Dollars. His setting and pace are magnificent and its utilisation of common western tropes accelerates the anti-hero antithesis of men paid to kill others. Reveals and shootouts are cemented as great moments not just by the actions this talented cast take, but the musical cues Morricone provides. It helps also that For a Few Dollars More is set to the backdrop of truly beautiful surroundings. There is not a contrast between the bad men and the good views, but a blurring of the two as they co-exist in sundown shootouts and prison breakouts at the crack of dawn.  

Music makes for the greatest showdown of all in For a Few Dollars More. Those countdowns dependant on the rattling of the orchestra and the chimes of a stopwatch are well worked and present heroics to characters who would normally be thrown far away from them. Klaus Kinski and Gian Maria Volonté are ample villains. Plenty of vile substance and dingy surroundings dictate their murderous intent. For a Few Dollars More is a simple tale of murderers seeking out murderers. Good vs evil is not so much blurred as it is occupied by characters who, had they found themselves on a different streak of luck, would be in the position of the man opposite them. Leone adapts that well in the finest offering of the trilogy.  

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