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USA 1967
Directed by
Monte Hellman
83 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The Shooting

The Shooting is one of 2 intriguing Westerns made concurrently by Hellman and Jack Nicholson (the other being Ride In The Whirlwind, which was released in 1965) for AIP.

Written by Carole Eastman (who wrote Five Easy Pieces, 1970, under the name of Adrien Joyce)  it tells the story of Willet, a bounty hunter turned miner (Warren Oates) and his good-natured sidekick, Coley (Will Hutchins), who are hired by an unnamed woman (Millie Perkins) to guide her into the desert. Following them is Billy Spear (Nicholson), a sadistic gunman who has apparently been hired by the woman to terminate some unnamed prey.

With often archly non-naturalistic dialogue and peppered with obliquely Delphic elements the film suggests classical Greek drama as passed through the hands of film-makers like Antonioni (Nicholson would star in Antonioni’s The Passenger, in 1975) and Pasolini then poured into the form of the Western, albeit a sparse one.

With no sets to speak of, it is a cleverly made film and Oates is commanding in the central role.




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