Hauntingly beautiful documentary on the best Western film ever made.
The title of this documentary is most appropriate. It is taken from the best and most chilling line spoken by Ethan Edwards in the epic film, The Searchers.
Although this is a documentary on the making of the film, I came away feeling it was a documentary on America itself; seen through the image of one of its greatest metaphors, John Wayne.
Anyone who says John Wayne could not act was both right and wrong. Wrong in that Wayne clearly brings everything of Ethan Edwards out in this film, and right because it almost appears that Wayne is not really acting at all; he IS Ethan Edwards. He has always been Ethan Edwards.
He was a giant. When people think of America they say "John Wayne". The Searchers was Wayne's favorite film and he even named one of his sons Ethan.
The Searchers is the ultimate morality play. Viewers who pan it and say Ethan Edwards was a racist and criminal are correct. But he was also an honest, loyal soldier (a soldier's mindset, going beyond military service). "I figure a man's only good for one oath at a time. I took mine to th' Confederate States of America..."
In the end Ethan (and the audience that roots for him) is redeemed by saving Debbie rather than killing her; even though by bringing Debbie Edwards home, his mission will be complete and he will have no place to go. Notice in the last scene how the door shuts on him after everyone else goes into the house.
Ethan sacrificed everything he had for a cause that, once won, would leave him alone, forever. But he did it anyway because it was the right thing to do. He knew that from the beginning. It took the audience until the end of the film to realize it. Best American western film ever made. Better than Shane or High Noon.
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