A true masterpiece in understatement, realism, and remarkable storytelling.
Unforgiven tells the story of a man (Clint Eastwood) who has left behind the life of a gunfighter to raise his children on a remote farm. This changes when he hears that two cowboys have "cut up" a woman from a nearby town. Lured by the reward to kill the cowboys, and unable to walk away from his past, he sets off to claim the bounty.
Clint Eastwood's character in the film is not only thoroughly believable, but also a far cry from the heroes we are used to seeing from Hollywood. Our only glimpse at his past life are through the stories he shares with his partner (Morgan Freeman) and this adds to his character as it is our imagination (rather than the usual flashbacks) that we use to see the man.
Casting is perfect - Clint Eastwood plays Westerns like no other actor ever could, Morgan Freeman effortlessly plays alongside him, and Gene Hackman is utterly plausible as the cruel Sheriff. Together with a great cameo from Richard Harris, and the screen always buzzes with serious heavyweight talent.
What seperates this film from many other Westerns and places it alongside other great films of any type, is that even if the subject matter or genre isn't what you'd normally opt for, the strength of the story and the performances shine through.
As is the case with most films that Clint Eastwood directs, the set pieces, the pace of the film, and the care with which it is made are all perfectly crafted.
A thoroughly recommeded film....for anyone - not just fans of Westerns!