1976 Spaghetti Western

Rating: 15/20

Plot: Keoma, an adopted half-Injun (is that politically correct?) returns after the Civil War to find that his daddy is no longer the town big-wig and that his three corrupt half-brothers are in-cahoots with the mean guy who's the new town big-wig. Plague victims are shunned and sent to die. Keoma rescues one of them, a pregnant woman, and pisses off everybody. A whole lot of people die in slow-motion.

Another filthy cool spaghetti Western featuring the great Franco Nero with perhaps an overuse of Peckinpah-style slo-mo spills from horses or rooftops and a great tone. But I'm going to start with the bad or ugly in this otherwise good film--the music. There's a song performed by a woman who screeches like an inebriated Joan Baez and a guy who sounds like a guy who liquified and then drank a bunch of Leonard Cohen records. The song runs intermittently throughout the movie's duration and works kind of like a Greek chorus where the "singers" tell you exactly what just happened in case you somehow missed it or maybe what the characters are thinking. It's unnecessary and annoying. "Now Keoma has to ride into town to face his brothers." Yeah, Joan Baez, I know. I'm watching the same movie you are! Maybe if I was vision impaired, I would have appreciated that sort of thing. Or maybe I would have just shoved pencils in my ears. Other than that, this is good stuff. I like the mysterious tone, and Castellari, a director I've never heard of, uses sound effects and classic Western shots that take advantage of great scenery to create wonderful atmosphere. He uses some unnatural shots that show the characters framed by debris and dilapidated buildings, and during a climactic shoot-out--one of several--he eliminates all of the sound except for a moaning woman and the wind. Awesome. Keoma the half-breed (wait, why isn't this an offensive word?) is a cool character, not invincible and tortured not only by all the stuff that happens to him in the numerous flashbacks but by his future. And I like how he does this pointing thing that must have inspired Hulk Hogan as he was creating his wrastler persona. There's also this cool shot you'd only get in a spaghetti Western where Keoma tells his four enemies that he has four bullets. He holds up four fingers to illustrate. Then, he counts and drops his fingers to reveal the characters he's about to shoot. This movie also has a guy who looks like Colonel Sanders, and a scene where a guy with the whitest teeth in the Wild West gives a black guy's boot a golden shower. Definitely worth watching for fans of the genre even though that song will make you bleed from the ears. And not in a good way.

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