Sunday, March 01, 2015

Movie review: The Searchers

This was on the list of 50 films never nominated for an Academy Award, for my 101 Things in 1001 Days.

The story is Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) returning home three years after he fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.  Shortly after he arrives at his brother's homestead, he joins a posse looking for a cattle rustler. While they're on the trail, his brother's farm is attacked by Commanche, the adults slaughtered and his young niece Debbie is kidnapped. The rest of the film follows his years-long quest to find his niece.

Ethan's motivation throughout the film is clear. He wants revenge for the murder of his brother's family, and holds a burning hatred of the Commanche, and "Indians" in general. Debbie's captor and Ethan's adversary, "Scar" is no different. He, too, is motivated by hatred, and vengeance for the murder of his sons.

This movie is considered a classic, with iconic scenes that have been copied or inspired the work of other filmmakers.

I thought it was an interesting character study. Though the blatant racism bothered me, I think that was largely the point of the film: the lengths that hate will drive people to.

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