The Quick and the Dead (1995)

Fuck me dead, could this have been any more predictable? I mean, yeah, to some extent most stories are on some level or another, even at the most basic level of “good guy wins, bad guy loses”; you have at least some idea of how a story will broadly unfold, especially in a film where you know who the actors are and what side of the good/evil divide they’re on, and consequently how far into the film they will last. Normally this doesn’t bother me too much, that sort of predictability is one of those conventions we’ve accepted for centuries. For some reason it irritated the boiling fuck out of me when I was watching The Quick and the Dead; you know the way the film sets up four particular characters—Sharon Stone’s avenging angel, Russell Crowe’s preacher (parenthetically, isn’t it funny how he’s left out of the film’s trailer? A reminder of how he wasn’t a star once), Leonardo DiCaprio’s overconfident Kid and Gene Hackman’s nasty old cunt—and the way the story is built around a quick-draw contest, you know those four are going to come together in the penultimate round; hell, when you remember DiCaprio is playing Hackman’s son, you know it’ll be them in particular  that get together (with Stone and Crowe even more obviously meeting in their match). Plus we know Stone is there to kill someone, and again it’s no prizes for guessing who. Plus, frankly, the style kind of shitted me as well, Raimi opting for lots of imposing slow-motion bits and odd angles of an aggressively attention-seeking kind; the film screams at you to look at it like a spoiled demanding child, and is about as tiresome. Alas, Stone herself is kind of the final nail in the coffin with her performance getting the whole “enigmatic” thing wrong and only reaching for “empty” instead. I don’t know, maybe I’m being more harsh than the film really deserves, but god/dess it rubbed me the wrong way…

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