A blood-splattered italian Western directed by Lucio Fulci starring Franco Nero as the steel-gazed protagonist; What else do you even need to know?? In all seriousness though, The Brute and the Beast is a title that simply put, lives up to its name, being a blunt, not-at-all subtle feature in which the line between good and evil couldn't be more fixed and objectively defined. You have the tyrannical Scott family whose extreme wealth and monopoly on the land has led to mass suffering for much of the community, with their heir to the fortune being a borderline caricature of abject evil, whose utter lack of empathy, remorse, or general concern for human life make him the perfect counter-balance to Nero's cold yet honorable protagonist, a man who reluctantly returns home to deal with the injustice facing the repressed. Fulci's outre aesthetic is in full effect - heavy use of depth-of-field in his mis-en-scene coupled with a hyper-accentuated lens work in unison to give the film's action set pieces a constant sense of dynamism, while the quieter scenes are impressionist in their depiction of inequality and injustice - the decadence, wealth, and privileged of Scott family, who dress heavily in impeccably refined white garb, juxtaposed against the drab and worn cloth of the common folk was a nice touch. Much of The Brute and the Beast's story is rooted in familiar themes of the Western genre, yet it's Fulci's dynamic style which makes the film distinct, that and it's strange, vaguely racist portrayal of a Chinese immigrant. This character fulfills the loveable sidekick archetype and he isn't the most sensitive or nuanced portrait, randomly quoting Confucius, and yet his overall portrayal feels like a net gain, primarily due to him being a characterization that exudes a sense of wisdom and generally positive outlook, despite his impoverished life. He is regulated to the background in this sense, ancillary to the plight of the town as a whole, which oddly reinforces the character, despite its blunt caricature, being an individual who feels above the fray due to his wisdom and general optimistic demeanor. The Brute and the Beast is precisely what one would expect, a film which leans heavily into the traditional tropes of the genre, employing Fulci's kinetic direction style to breath life into an otherwise, traditional story.
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