Django, Kill ... If You Live, Shoot! (1967)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Spaghetti Western  |   Release Date - May 3, 1967 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - Italy, Spain  |  
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Despite its setting and plot trappings, Django, Kill! If You Live, Shoot! is not the average 'spaghetti western.' There are occasional outbursts of brutal action but director/co-writer Giulio Questi is much more interested in using the film's revenge and search-for-gold plot elements as a vehicle to create a eccentric, often darkly humorous commentary the greed and hypocrisy that often lie beneath the veneer of a 'civilized' society. Thus, the usual spaghetti western thrills take a backseat to surreal flights of fancy and the approach to plotting and performance is handled in an arch, highly stylized manner that has more in common with David Lynch than it does with Sergio Leone. As a result, Django, Kill! If You Live, Shoot! is likely to confound viewers looking for straightforward action but fans of art-house weirdness will find plenty to enjoy in this film: Franco Arcalli's editing makes dazzling use of rapid-cut montages in a way that is a good 15 years ahead of its time and Questi creates a variety of unforgettably bizarre setpieces from start to finish, the most memorable being a scene where wealth-hungry townspeople rip into a dying man after discovering the bullets riddling his body are made of gold. Django, Kill! If You Live, Shoot! further benefits from above-average acting, with Tomas Milian creating a compelling presence as the film's vengeful hero and Ray Lovelock providing a memorably expressive turn in a challenging, mostly silent role as the town's one innocent character. In the end, Django, Kill! If You Live, Shoot!s is a bit too eccentric and brutal to be recommended to the casual viewer but offers an unforgettable experience for cult movie fans with a taste for the eccentric.