Saturday, October 10, 2009

332) God's Gun (1976)

332) God's Gun (1976) Dir: Gianfranco Parolini Date Released: March 1978 Date Seen: October 9, 2009 Rating: 3/5

I feel I have to be lenient when it comes to judging a film like God's Gun for a number of reasons. First, its cheesy stock plot--twin brothers, one a chaste priest and the other a gunslinger that's quit his life of amorality to start a family, are reunited after the former brother is murdered--is made oddly endearing by the film's eccentric cast. Lee Van Cleef plays both priest and reformed shootist while a skeletal Jack Palance plays the baddie that kills the priest and forces the other out of retirement. Both men are clearly out of their element, Donnie, but even if Palance looks more like your senile grand-uncle than a cold-blooded killer and Van Cleef looks oddly game for two of the corniest roles in his already screwy career, they both still have that certain "Je ne sais quoi."

Next, and this is not an inconsiderable merit, is the film's abundance of campy humor. I can't recall a filmmaker that's tried so hard to make his compositions look so bad--when in doubt, fish-eye lens, fish-eye lens and fish-eye lens again--nor showcase actors playing heavies that were just as incompetent.

Finally, I can't help but feel that this film, unlike seminal crap like Sergio Corbucci's Django, is actually trying to emulate Sergio Leone's recycled, exaggerated style without just regurgitating it. The ending in the graveyard, the final showdown and so many other elements are failed attempts at amoral gravitas that are that much more engaging because of the recurring Morricone-esque leitmotif that accompanies Van Cleef's gunslinger (it kinda sounds like the echo of a woman yelling "Baaaa" but it's supposed to sound like "Booo," as we start to hear it after Van Cleef says, "You look like you've seen a ghost"). So yeah, not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly a fun one, well-worth a footnote in any Spaghetti western fan's encyclopedic knowledge (y'know, good for parties).

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