02 October 2010
Compared to the roughness around the edges of A Fistful of Dollars, this film feels much more the work of a skilled director working with a crack team. The photography is crisper, the performances feel more assured, the characters more fleshed out, and the story and dialogue (while a little hurky-jerky in terms of motivation) feels light years ahead to me. Fistful is a movie you can appreciate with a caveat. For A Few Dollars More pretty much doesn't need one.
My one criticism is, the story feels needlessly complicated at times, and is a little too willing to indulge in novelistic side-stories. It takes its time getting into the heart of the action, as well. But many moments stand out, and many images and scenes feel iconic, which makes the slow pace worthwhile. There's even some nice dramatic moments from Lee van Cleef and the actor playing El Indio.
It's been a long time since I've seen all of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and obviously I'll be watching it again, soon, to complete the trilogy, but so far I might like this one best. The world feels the right kind of lived-in and historied, and there seems to be a good balance between darker and lighter moments. Again, if the pacing weren't quite so full of fits and starts, and maybe if they'd cut the movie by about twenty minutes runtime, I'd call it nearly a perfect spaghetti western. As it is, and based on memory, this might be my favorite of the Man With the No Name films.