I feel like I’m holding my head over the guillotine but here goes: why Once Upon a Time in the West is a bad film.
Before I go on, I feel I should stress that I do appreciate not all films are about non-stop action and enthralling love triangles (I enjoyed Dances with Wolves and the Ten Commandments). However, while I did find the opening fascinating from a study point of view and fairly good from a viewers point of view, the rest of the film was boring.
I sat down with my mum to watch this as we were both eager, and by the first of four hours, we were both wondering if it would pick up from the staring and occasional conversation. It may be that I’m not a fan of westerns in general, however, looking at it objectively, I still can’t enjoy this films long tedious scenes. The basic premise of the whole film is talking about killing a man for three and a half hours, then when he meets the man, they talk more, a shot is fired and thats the end.
The scenes were long and drawn out with little conclusion and although an explanation be would for suspense, I just wasn’t feeling it. While many people credit its great acting, I don’t think there was much to act. Yes, it’s all we and good perfecting a stare but after a few hours, the same stare becomes boring. The lack of variety was, however, contrasted by its incredibly atmospheric music (I’m not all doom and gloom). Particularly in the first scene, the lack of music and use of foley and single sound effects definitely contributes to dragging you into this world and keeps you wondering what’s going to happen. But the problem was when it happened, therein lies the rest of the film in those 7 or so seconds. You know what to expect later on.
I also credit the cinematographer: the mastery of scenery did bring it up a notch, but just barely.
Overall I wouldn’t say this is a good film. It’s a great example of something for studying in a college classroom but from an enjoyment point of view, it is definitely an aquired taste, one I distinctly lack.