Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Four of the Apocalypse

Man, oh, man! I fucking love Lucio Fulci's Four of the Apocalypse!

It may be my sentimental favorite non-Leone Spaghetti Western. Sure, The Great Silence and Compañeros, both by the great Sergio Corbucci, probably have stronger claims at being the best, if only for their magnificent Ennio Morricone scores.

Fulci's film is marred by very '70s sounding folk-pop music that plays intermittently throughout. I actually have to confess to enjoying "Movin' On", but can't say it improves this movie much. Mind you, this is nothing like Enzo G. Castellari's Keoma, which is utterly brutalized by the worst and most obvious music in the history of time. In Castellari's case, I think it was an attempt to replicate the effect Robert Altman achieved in McCabe & Mrs. Miller with Leonard Cohen songs gone horribly, horribly wrong. In Fulci's case, I'm less sure of the intent.

Fulci tells a very compelling story here, with virtuoso performances by Fabio Testi, Michael J. Pollard and the great Tomas Milian. As a side note, if you read a screenplay by me featuring an older Cuban man, figure I'm dreaming of Tomas Milian in the part. I'm sure others are put off by the brutality, which at times may arguably be more than necessary, but I'm not one to put up that argument... I kind of admit thinking it's, well, cool.

The story, based on unspecified works by Bret Harte, is quite compelling, being a survival story, a revenge story, a love story and ultimately a very human story. It's the kind of story that couldn't be seperated from it's Western motif in story and yet surpasses it in theme by leaps and bounds, just like any genre story really should.

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