"A seminal western. The genre rarely reaches these heights today."
Clint Eastwood was to 70's westerns what John Wayne was to 50's westerns. The be all and end all. In High Plains Drifter, that tradition peaked and refused to return until Eastwood's late 80's masterpiece, Unforgiven. Among the guns and violence and spitoons, Eastwood allows himself to become a hero of hatred. A character who is as quick to rape as he is to shoot bad guys. It was a risky call, would be even riskier today, but Clint pulls it off like a champ.When a raggedy range-dog rolls into the mining town of Lago, the locals are none too pleased. They don't take kindly to strangers. Thankfully, Clint don't take too kindly to folks who use phrases like "take too kindly". After he kills three menacing thugs, the town is in a quandary. A trio of nasty pieces of work are to be released from prison and they've sworn that Lago will burn. And the three dead guys were the hired guns they had waiting to protect the town.
So when you're looking death in the face, to what lengths do you go to ensure survival? Lago offers it all. Clint can have whatever he wants in the town if he promises to help them defend themselves. So, with the assistance of Mordechai the midget sherrif, Clint sets about taking full advantage.
But what is his game exactly? How does painting the town red and building a picnic table amount to self-defence? The town has more secrets than they'll admit to and nobody is patient enough to go along with this madness much longer…
High Plains Drifter is a fantastic film. It's very 70's, but don't let that sit too highly in your 'reasons to avoid' box. This film is hardcore. Not hardcore as in lots of blood and guts, but more in that it's just plain nasty. Everyone therein is nasty, and the hero is the nastiest man in the flick. Where does he come from? Who is he? Why is he here?Can't answer those questions, folks. The fun is in finding out the answers yourself. Here's a hint, you won't have them until the movie is over. Great flick.