Pale Rider: a simple, stripped down, pure western [critique]

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Pale Rider
Warner bros

Clint Eastwood returns this evening on France 3.

After a handful of James Bond, France 3 program westerns on Friday evening. At 9:05 p.m., the channel will honor one of the masters of the genre, Clint eastwood, with the distribution of Pale Rider, western from 1985 in which Eastwood assumed the double cap of director and main actor, here finding his taste for enigmatic and nameless characters, like those he had played at the time for Sergio Leone in his Dollar Trilogy.

The story of Pale Rider : The last independent gold diggers of LaHood, a mining town in California, are harassed by the band of Coy LaHood, founder of the city who wants to appropriate their concession. Just as the peaceful miners are ready to give up the fight, a lone black-clad rider emerges from the mountain. No one knows his name, his past, his origins. Hull Barret, long opposed to Coy LaHood, welcomes him under his roof. The man will not be long in proving his qualities as a shooter.

Western with many religious and philosophical echoes, Pale Rider was a big popular hit when it was released, raising nearly $ 50 million, making it the highest grossing western of the 1980s. Extremely well received for the depth of its themes, Pale Rider received moreover the honor of an official selection in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. On the occasion of its broadcast this evening, here is its review, published within our top Clint Eastwood, where he obtained 8th place.

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“Less cynical and powerful than The Man of the High Plains. Less definitive than Merciless. Less elegiac than Josey Wales. Of his four westerns, Pale Rider is the most fragile. Not minor, but simple, stripped down. verse from Revelation (“I looked, and appeared a horse of a pale color. He who rode it was called death, and hell accompanied him”) and Pale Rider is indeed of a biblical austerity or zen (with a stick fight) Yet the real matrix is ​​not Kurosawa, but Shane. Same shift in point of view (the story is taken in by the eyes of a teenage girl), same absence of “hero”. Only poverty, misery and death remain here. “

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