A Bullet for the General [Blu-ray]
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I'm starting to get it, I think. The gig with spaghetti westerns, that is. Capitalism stinks, the Establishment is corrupt and everybody over thirty in clean clothes is likely to be shot. The good guys are greasy, sweaty, and rude. They talk when their mouths are stuffed with chicken stolen off the plate of the corrupt property holder. The good guys are a mescal induced nightmare of the progeny of hippies and Hell's Angels - a peculiarly sixties vision of a union of the odious with the sociopath.
The Hippie Creed is announced on the international trailer to A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL: "They gambled their lives for absolute freedom to do as they please." Right on, man.
None of this makes A BULLET an unpleasant viewing experience, but I didn't really much care who was going to be shot next, which was a good thing considering the body count in this one. Gian Maria Volonte plays El Chuncho, the leader of a band of marauders who loves The People. Klaus Kinski plays El Santo, El Chuncho's brother and a man who loves God. Lou Castel plays the gringo Bill Tate, dubbed "Nino" by El Chuncho, a man who loves Money. Castel is on a secret mission (he's carrying a golden bullet in his valise. Hint, hint) and to blend in with the banditos he's dresses up like a bank teller throughout the movie. How did he keep he shirt so clean and his collar so starched?
At one point El Chuncho tries to explain it to the uncomprehending Nino. While bear hugging a peasant he says "He's poor and filthy but he's a human being. Man the same as you. Do you understand?" Right on, man. Where was that little speech when you were murdering the land owner and ravishing his wife?
A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL is alright, but it might be a tough ride if you're like me and want someone to root for.
This movie is probably my favorite non-Leone spaghetti western there is, and interestingly enough this is one of the few of the genre I've seen that makes no attempt to be like a Leone film unlike the hundreds of others made at the same time. This will be a problem for most people who will expect it and its rough edges which are mostly bad dubbing will turn most people off but I can seriously say I like this movie tons.
To keep it short there's tons of shooting, tons of explosions, 3523352523 double crossings which will make you wonder if you should be mad or cheer when you see who dies in the end, hilariously horrendous dubbing, cheesy "typical" Mexican music, and well, lots of shooting and killing. As simple as this film is I still say its far better than The Great Silence, while it has a great score, cool setting and cool ending, thats about all it has. This movie is way better.
Now for the actors. Gian-Maria Volonté is exceptional in the role of El Chuncho, a rather likeable outlaw who considers that the mexican revolution is a good opportunity to make money by selling rifles to the revolutionaries. His brother Klaus Kinski, as blonde as El Chuncho is black, is more disturbing as a priest convinced that social justice must be brought into this world by all possible means, preferably with the help of explosives and machine-guns. El Niño, the character played by the colombian born actor Lou Castel, is even more intriguing with his attitude à la Clint Eastwood. He's the meanest of all but nonetheless develops a strange friendship for his alter ego Volonté.
Four years before Sergio Leone's A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE, A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL is already visiting the mexican revolution but with an engaged point of view that doesn't leave unharm politicians, working-class people, wealthy ranchers, pistoleros, revolutionaries or americans. Great fun with food for the mind, what more can you expect from cinema ?
A DVD zone your library.
Most recent customer reviews
One of the best Spaghetti westerns made, great acting by all sides(especially by the lead guy) excellent plot and a commentary on doing a revolution too....Published on Sept. 24 2008 by Terence Tan Co
I ordered this with the hope of re-living the atmospheric and operatic triumpsh of Leone (Eastwood Trilogy and Once Upon a Time in the West). Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2003 by J. Colburn
The sound quality on the DVD is flat and lacking dynamics and the sound seems out of sync (or is it just bad dubbing? Read more
It's simply marvellous. A brillant cast, first of all Gian Maria Volonté in his best performance ever, a well-elaborated and surprising story, magnificently composed... Read morePublished on March 1 2002 by Mark Hübner-Weinhold - Leadership Scout
anyone who has seen For a few dollars more knows that the partnership of kinski-volonte is potentially explosive, unfortunately while volonte is hypnotic kinski suffers from a... Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2001