Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA/Japan, 1995. TriStar Pictures, Japan Satellite Broadcasting, IndieProd Company Productions. Screenplay by Simon Moore. Cinematography by Dante Spinotti. Produced by Joshua Donen, Patrick Markey, Allen Shapiro. Music by Alan Silvestri. Production Design by Patrizia von Brandenstein. Costume Design by Judianna Makovksy. Film Editing by Pietro Scalia.
Sharon Stone has a great time parading around this western as a stranger who walks into a dusty old town in the Wild Wild West in search of vengeance. Her target is the evil sheriff of the place (Gene Hackman), a man who takes most of the money that his residents earn and controls their lives (and deaths) as ruthlessly as he desires to. He’s also the person responsible for Stone’s father’s death when she was a little girl. Sam Raimi does an excellent job directing this tribute to spaghetti westerns, filling it with marvellously edited visual gags and stylish moments, but none of the characters in it are juicy enough to keep it as interesting as Raimi is filming it to be. This flatness leaves the beautiful cinematography and Patrizia von Brandenstein’s excellent production design looking unimportant. Stone enjoys playful cameraderie with joshing co-star Leonardo DiCaprio and earnest romantic interest Russell Crowe as a former gunslinger turned peace-loving preacher, but the script never allows any of them to shine.