Companeros review

:. Director: Sergio Corbucci
:. Starring: Franco Nero, Tomas Milian
:. Running Time: 2:00
:. Year: 2000
:. Country: 1970


Companeros, the third chapter of Corbucci's trilogy, is an epic parody with strong political connotations that launched a wave of engaging westerns.

Modelled on The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by his friend Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci(Django) intertwines the paths of three characters in the middle of a conflict. But instead of the American Civil War, the film uses the Mexican Revolution as its foundation, the perfect setting to plant a leftist political message opposing American capitalism. Corbucci also profited by getting in front of Leone and his unsuccessful Once Upon A Time The Revolution which was released a few years later.

Franco Nero (Django), who plays a Swedish mercenary, shared the top bill with Tomas Milan (seen recently in Traffic), a revolutionary resembling Che Guevara, and Jack Palance, a killer with a wooden arm who has a bird of prey for a best friend.

At the centre of this parody of a western we find a leftist if not communist political message. Besides the obvious allusion to Che Guevara, the revolution is organised by a pacifist professor (Fernando Rey) who, looking for funding from the USA, discovers capitalism the hard way. In effect, the American businessmen offer to fund him against the monopoly of the entire oil wealth of his country. The film makes a direct reference to capitalism taking over the natural resources of poor countries. Also the Swede, whose sole motivation is the lure of profits, will discover at his expense that the true wealth resides in work, the resources of the land and sharing and he eventually joins the revolution.

However, the film is flawed by over-acting and Corbucci's zany direction, which often makes it unpalatable; although it does benefit from Ennio Morricone's music.

Far from being a total success, Companeros owes its place in spaghetti western history thanks to its engaging ideology.

  Fred Thom

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