Be quick or be dead! That is what Sam Raimi is trying to verbalize through his 1995 western express ‘The Quick and the Dead’. The film is just like an old comic book, which came back to life!
Raimi had always expressed style of his own through breath taking horror films such as ‘The Evil Dead’, ‘Darkman’ and more recently ‘Spiderman’. He has used his quick-draw adventure with all the twisty camera tricks in this spaghetti western film. Every minutes and seconds of this 1hour 45 minutes, are not going to be a waste of time. Simon Moore’s story came to life through the production of Joshua Donen, Patrick Markey and Allen Shapiro. The film is distributed by Columbia Tri-Star.
Extremely intense, straightforward and contentious, Golden Globe-winning actress Sharon Stone, escaping from her usual glamorous roles, had a great welcome from the western world as the fans rushed in to the theatres as the movie get released. The three times Oscar nominee Russell Crowe along with Golden Globe winning Leonardo Dicaprio and two time Academy Award winner Gene Hackman and a huge list of other actors as well……….
Yee haw… Let the revenge fantasies of deadly tournament begin!
The plot of this movie is conceived brilliantly and the dialogue is surprisingly up to standard. We could take a terrific fun of each scene!
The story of the film converges on the series of a distinct elimination gun fighting contest which is arranged by John Herod, the crooked mayor of a border line township called Redemption, which is a ecstasy for criminals. The contest is organised to find out the fastest gunfighter in the west. The contest is a “KILL OR KILLED BY AFFAIR”. Then the Lady arrives; a mysterious stranger with a vengeful purpose; to pick her bone from the town, the bone of Herod! Cort, a priest, who is retired to life as a missionary, has been publicly tortured and humiliated. A young arrogant, Fee or The Kid, who thinks that he is the fastest of all, has a dream; to prove himself to his father. Ellen and Cort are forced by Herod to sign up to the contest. Could Ellen exact revenge upon Herod? Could Cort succeed Herod’s compassion? Could kid win his father’s respect?
Sharon Stone gives life to the character named The Lady. An IRONY???
Lady has varied feelings of anguish and repulsion; but her heart is strong and solid. She has a cloudy and misty past. She was manipulated by Herod to kill her own father. She has the reflection of revenge in her eyes. She falls in love with Cort, and both of them finds themselves hard to eliminate each other when it becomes their turn.
Herod is an example of devilish cunning and wickedness. Herod and his gang are penniless hunters who are grieving the town with illegal taxes. He uses the gun-fighting contest to make obligatory in his current position. Herod is definitely sure that he will win the contest. Gene Hackman appropriates great as merciless, villainess and sadistic John Herod.
Cort, who hardly believes in heaven and hell, was forced by Herod to kill a priest in the past. Cort is entered to the contest against his will. The most dramatic moment in the film comes when he faces Herod. Russell Crowe has a nice turn as the reformed gunfighter who has turned his back on aggression and violence.
Leonardo Dicaprio comes in the film as Fee, a boastful young gunfighter who claims to be Herod’s son. Every one in the town calls him ‘Kid’. He claims to be Herod’s son, but Herod argues that Kid’s mother had an affair with a farmer. However, Herod expresses affection for Fee, by trying to force him to drop down from the contest. Fee shows a crush in Ellen, but she does the opposite by caring him as a brother.
As we see in any westerns, The Quick and the Dead has the expected traditional elements of the genre. The moody atmosphere saturated with horses and gunshots are very familiar in the film. These factors have a common acceptance all over the film. However, the strange element of the film is that the hero(in) is a woman. The film shows its tradition by the presence of cowboys, saloons and of course the life taking gun fighting.
Raimi uses different angles and techniques in the film. His testy, quirky camera tricks are complete clear-cut. In most of his films, he has used kinetic and wild camera movements. The Quick and the Dead has used the same camera angles. Raimi uses zoom and razor sharp editing which allows the audience to view each gunpoint passing through the body. The whole film has a magnificent visual style.
I think that The Quick and the Dead is a perfect entertainer for those who are the fans of western genre. The soundtrack by Allen Silvestri is miscellaneous and is able to create a spirit of spaghetti west. However, more than that, the appreciable factor of the film is the clever and unusual camera angle of Raimi, which has a great part in the success of the film. However, the tension, which the film creates at the first few minutes, does not go very long. At some moment, the plot lost the clarity, which it keeps at the beginning. The film is too soft and light to cover the dramatic hesitation of a western genre; however, at the final shootout between the villain and hero, it tosses in suspense and anxiety. But the question is, can Ellen could make the rebellious and crafty rogue to bite the bullet of the vengeance?