When I get the chance, I read the IMDb plot summary of a film before I watch it. It’s just common sense. It manages expectations. But by reading the synopsis for A Fistful of Dollars, I may have set myself up for disappointment.
“An anonymous, but deadly man rides into a town…” is enough to get me excited. Who is this dangerous enigma? Where did he come from? Unfortunately, the answers I thought I’d get were never revealed, and it kind of overshadowed the rest of the film for me. Maybe it’s unfair to judge a film based on what I thought it would be – like judging Jaffa Cakes as biscuits, it doesn’t even stand a chance – but I couldn’t turn off my curiosity.
The film did recover, though. As a puzzle never to be solved, The Man With No Name does excel himself. His motivations are so unclear you’d think he’d been penned by Damon Lindelof. His moral compass is out of control. And he’s quick on the draw – I couldn’t shoot that fast even if I was tasked with repopulating the planet with Jessica Alba.
It’s an action film at its core – you’re not watching to learn anything, really. You’re watching to be entertained by a mindless hero wreaking havoc on his tormentors, and doing just enough good deeds to be considered a protagonist. I did like A Fistful of Dollars – but I wouldn’t put it at any other position on the Top 250.