"A brilliant western. Don't miss this one, pardner!"
Clint Eastwood is one of my favorite directors. I love his tough, raw style. This film did not disappoint.'High Plains Drifter' is one of Clint Eastwood's best. Solid direction and great acting. If you loved Clint Eastwood when he was the 'Man With No Name,' then you will not want to miss this film. Eastwood is again brilliant as a lone mysterious stranger.
WARNING - In order to review this film and discuss its meaning, I have to reveal the ending. So . . . if you don't want to know what happens in the end, please don't read this until after you have seen the film.
In the first scene, as the Stranger (Eastwood) approaches the town of Lago, he seems to slowly materialize out of the desert haze. He comes into town and rapes one of the women. At this point he does not seem to be any kind of hero. This will be a surprise for the viewer.
The Stranger then proceeds to take over the town. The Stranger is the archetypal mysterious western stranger. With a hint of badman. However, in spite of the rape scene, one is not quite sure in the early part of the film if the Stranger is a good guy or a badman.
The scenes that follow the opening draw one further into the mysterious and supernatural aspect of the film. The shooting in the bathtub is the first scene that makes the viewer ask if the Stranger is even a mortal man.
These events place the film solidly in the western sub-genre called "Weird Western." This is a term for westerns with supernatural elements. However, if you like traditional westerns, you will not be disappointed.
The key scene that marks 'High Plains Drifter' as a 'Weird Western' is the scene where Callie shoots the Stranger in the bathtub. Callie enters the room, the Stranger ducks under the water, and Callie fires four shots into the tub. The Stranger then emerges from the tub unharmed. The fact that the Stranger was not killed makes one wonder if he is something other than human.
As the film progresses, the questions that viewers will ask are: Who is the mysterious stranger? Is he an avenging angel, a ghost bent on revenge, or just a stranger with mysterious powers?
The plot is brilliant, and various events will lead the viewer to decide who the Stranger is.
In the end, the Stranger rides off and slowly vanishes in the desert haze. Who was he? Part of the fun of this film is putting together the clues in the story to work out the identity of the mysterious stranger.
The cinematography is brilliant. The location suits the film perfectly.
If you want a film that has the feel of a tough, no nonsense western, with brilliant acting and a fantastic screenplay, then don't miss this one. I was very pleased that I made the investment and added this DVD to my collection. I have seen it many times.Buy the DVD. You will want to watch it more than twice.