Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Bullet for the General (1966)
In revolutionary Mexico American John Tate hooks up with a band of outlaws lead by Chuncho. They are "collecting" guns for the revolution. Tate, called Nino by his new friends, tags along as they get guns, free the poor and attempt to get paid for their efforts.
Thats wildly simplified and doesn't do the complexity of this film justice. What is going on in the film is often not apparent until you get to the very end of the movie. No one is who they seem to be and everyone has some sort of other motive for what they are doing. Its a complex film that you have to stay with since you can never be certain what is going on.
For a long stretch of the film I wasn't certain what I thought of it. As I said, this is a story that is ever changing and evolving as it goes, and which you can't say whether you like or not until you get to the very end. It seems like an enjoyable mean but slightly confused western for most of its running time. Our nominal hero, Nino, rapidly evolves into something else. He is always up to something and rarely is it any good. He's hard to root for, or even to like. You instead you have to root for Chuncho, which is a bit odd at first since he's a "bandit" and the "bad guy". By the end you're rooting for Chuncho, while you're still not sure about Nino. In the end though it all comes together, and it reveals itself to be a quite special movie.
This is a movie to see if you like westerns, or even good movies for that matter. Its a film that engages you and moves you and your emotions. Its nice that an entertaining film such as this can also have other things on its mind yet not get lost on those other things or lose the enjoyment factor (there's a good deal of political satire woven into the story).