‘Unforgiven’ 20th Anniversary Blu-ray Book Review
Although Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven came out 20 years ago, it finally made its Blu-ray debut recently. With a storied acting (and later, directing) career, Eastwood is a cinematic icon. In arguably his best movie (emphasis on arguably), the 20th Anniversary Blu-ray Book delivers an incredible picture and some good special features. The film’s message hasn’t changed, but the quality is pristine, making a purchase essential for virtually everyone.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the story, Unforgiven is a Western film set in the 1880’s. A rugged, but seemingly “changed” killer (Eastwood) named William “Will” Munny is hired to help bring justice against two cowboys who stabbed and wounded a prostitute. When their crimes go largely unpunished, thanks to the local sheriff (Gene Hackman), the prostitues raise enough money for The Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett), Munny, and Munny’s old pal Ned (Morgan Freeman) to take justice into their own hands.
As the story progresses, Eastwood’s direction (his 16th directed film at the time) shows vastly different views of violence. Although violence is seen primarily through the lens of Munny, the supporting characters have differing outlooks. The main theme sets the Western apart from a lot of other ones.
As for awards, Unforgiven took home a bunch of major ones, including four at The Academy Awards. Not only did it get the coveted Best Picture, but Eastwood took home Best Director, while Hackman won Best Supporting Actor. The film also received a Film Editing Oscar.
Chances are most people have seen (or at least heard of) the movie. However, the Blu-ray includes some great features which should help people on the fence. Not only is the film great, but it comes with a 54-page book. This book shows the progression of the film, from script to Blu-ray. It includes insights, anecdotes, sketches, pictures, and more.
In visual form, the four documentaries included within the disc tell a similar story. Whether you are a huge Eastwood and/or Unforgiven fan or not, these documentaries give an in-depth look on pretty much every facet of the movie.
The best part, personally, was the film’s picture quality. Perhaps I’m a stickler for graphics, but Unforgiven actually looked like it was made this year. The themes are still relevant today, and the sound and graphics are impressive. I would’ve never guessed it was 20 years old if I was given a fresh look at the movie.
The rest of the features (excluding the aforementioned Blu-ray Book) are as follows:
Commentary by Eastwood Biographer Richard Schickel – Even though Eastwood, Hackman, and Freeman aren’t on board for the commentary, Schickel shares a lot of fun information right alongside the viewing experience.
All on Accounta Pullin’ a Trigger Documentary – Unlike the commentary, this documentary short features the film’s stars as they talk about the themes – from violence to feminism.
Eastwood & Co.: Making Unforgiven Documentary – Made in 1992, this short focuses a lot more on the production crew involved in the project.
Eastwood…A Star Documentary – Also made in 1992, Eastwood’s entire career is put on display. It shows how he went from a struggling “nobody” to the household name he is today.
Eastwood on Eastwood Documentary – The most robust documentary (68 minutes long) on the disc, this John Cusack narrated feature shows Eastwood’s career in chronological order. This is a perfect feature for die-hand fans.
Classic Maverick Episode “Duel at Sundown” – One of Eastwood’s first roles occurred in the TV show Maverick. His one-episode appearance shows a barely recognizable Eastwood.
Theatrical Trailer – A quick look at the trailer released before the movie hit theaters.
The documentary and special features are a bit dated and appear in Standard-Definition, but that shouldn’t hinder anyone’s decision. Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven truly shows how a great Western movie doesn’t age. The film’s plot, message, and picture quality is impressive, making the Blu-ray Book a must-buy for pretty much everyone.