Alone among assassins, Jack is a master craftsman. When a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, he vows to his contact Pavel that his next assignment will be his last. Jack reports to the Italian countryside, where he holes up in a small town and relishes being away from death for a spell. The assignment, as specified by a Belgian woman, Mathilde, is in the offing as a weapon is constructed. Surprising himself, Jack seeks out the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto and pursues romance with local woman Clara. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate. Written by
As Jack sits in the café drinking coffee alone, we hear a song played over the radio. This song is "Tu vuò fà l'americano" ("You pretend to be American"), an Italian song about an Italian man who adopts American affectations. See more »
They called the rifle a Ruger M14. The M14, an infantry rifle in the 1950s, was not made by Ruger, and shoots a .308 (7.62 X 51). The correct rifle is a Ruger Mini-14. See more »
You know, I thought I maybe drive into town. You want something?
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The credits at the end are in order of appearance. However, the 3 hookers are listed in the order: Hooker #2, Hooker #3 and Hooker #1, which logically doesn't make sense. See more »
The title is the last line from the great Stephen Crane's short story The Blue Hotel. This is one fantastic movie. Before I dissect it, it works as just a great suspenseful movie. George Clooney does a great non verbal acting job. He is forced to use his eyes and body language; what a great movie. From the opening, all the way to the heart stopping finale the film is relentless suspense. Doom is following Clooney, he wants to leave a profession that has a very permanent retirement plan. He knows this, his boss Pavel keeps trying to kill him while pretending he has no idea what is going on. In a final insult, he commissions Clooney, through a hit woman, to make the weapon that will be used to kill him. Unfortunately for her, Clooney did not get this old in a trade where amateurs die quickly; watch when she tries to seduce him how he looks coldly at her like try again I am no fool. I love when she thinks she is going to do a Godfather hit on him, like Solozzo, goes to the restroom and tries to come back in to kill him.
Clooney nails the role quietly viewing everyone, even the priest, as a potential enemy. He scans every corner and crevice looking for hidden destroyers. Look, even here, before my philosophical analysis, just as a movie experience the film is a great piece of work. It has many pop out scares that will send popcorn flying. I love the film because Clooney after a life of murdering people is trying to escape. He is filled with hatred for everything and everyone. He confronts the priest trying to shame him for producing a bastard child, the priest returns the volley with: I am corrupt but God has filled me with a father's love for the people around me, watch Clooney look away. We are all of us corrupt and evil; that, which was the whole Ad Hominem thesis of THE BORGIAS, does not give us license to do evil to others. If only Neil Jordan understood that, see if every pope who ever lived were murdering maniacs, like the Borgias were, you have not moved one inch towards invalidating morality. Jordan, like Jack, tries to defeat morality by throwing dirt on the adherents of morality; sorry, we are all corrupt and fallible that is an Ad Hominem. Morality is not dependent upon perfect people performing it to retain its validity.
Jack knows he will die soon; he seeks love from Clara. Like Hitch, there can be only one just end. I applaud the director for his moral courage. The film reminds me very much of a great work of Hitch's. The director seems, like DePalma, to be imitating the master's use of cruel fate to destroy Jack. He foils attempt after attempt but we the viewers know his luck will run out. He fixes the gun to destroy the destroyer and like real life the older, more deadly Pavel while dying finally succeeds. Like Crane's title above, Jack has created a fate for himself and there is no escape. Like the Swede, in Blue Hotel, Jack acts upon his universe until he destroys himself. No escape from the fate that we make that was Crane's meaning above in the header.
The use of the butterfly, a nod to the great Papillon, is a nice touch. This film is proof that amidst all the comic book movies; there still is the ability to make a great film. Sadly, it bombed at the box office because modern viewers simply do not have the intelligence nor the attention span for works on this level. If ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST were released today it would be panned and die a quick death. Yet, for those of you, who do not read comic books or enjoy endless explosions, watch this movie. It is a masterpiece.
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