Film Reviews, Short Review

The Searchers (1956)

3.5/4

Looking back on The Searchers today, almost 60 years since it was released, one particular thing strikes me about the film: at its heart this is an especially brutal and misanthropic film, about a man who is driven entirely by hate. John Wayne plays this man with a nuance and terseness that would be easy to miss for modern viewers going into the film with the preconception that he was always a ‘bad’ actor. Unfortunately, for all the film’s thematic brilliance and detail, all bought to the fore in the hands of the ever-brilliant John Ford, it very nearly scuppers itself with numerous pointless sub-plots and stupid ‘comic relief’ moments that feel as if they were put there to condescend to members of the audience who might not ‘get’ The Searchers and its exploration of racism and hatred. A blemish on an otherwise fantastic film.

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