Awe yes, the age of bounty hunting; you know what that means, right? A world of s***! Law has become so gentle now that hired killers have become the last voice of hope in a time of violence. For a Few Dollars More seems vastly more confrontational with its characters than it’s predecessor A Fistful of Dollars, with Gian Maria Volontè’s villainy presence being the biggest piece of evidence to that claim, given how he’s a gazillion times more intimidating and suggestive than his previous persona. It’s faster paced than Fistful in my opinion too — at least in its first half — probably due to the concurring set-up of three central characters, similar to that of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The amount of seat edging moments in this follow-up are far more consistent and brimmed as well, showcasing a major step-up in Leone’s scenario devising.
As far as I know, For a Few Dollars More is also Leone’s first attempt at integrating constant humor in his feature-lengths, but the funny business in this movie in particular was hit or miss for me, with awkward jokes like the train part (industrialization, haha, it sucks right?) trying way too hard to evoke laughter. The “hat-off” scene on the other hand is probably the best use of comedy, slow-burning information to the audience on the two characters we see before us and their similarities. Later on though, as we know, he’ll perfect his integration of humor in his following film with the character of Tuco.
Honestly, Eastwood’s character’s manipulative methods are less creative and furthermore questionable than how they were executed in Fistful, and maybe a part of that could be attributed to its privilege of working off the backbones of Yojimbo. The plot in For a Few Dollars More therefore becomes less tight as it was in its predecessor, needing backup from so many protagonist alterations that sometimes feel contrived in light of the story’s more complex progression. HOWEVER, I do appreciate the almost Coen Brothers-like twists and turns that this movie takes its risks on when compared to the easy-riding of Fistful. Despite it not working all the time, there are genuine moments here where the plot ends up making the ambiguity and mystery that was established beforehand feel warranted.
Ennio’s lullaby tracks are just so flippin’ iconic and hypnotic on the upside as well, which brings me to that “emotive intensity” that I had mentioned in my Fistful review would come later in Leone’s career. This movie graciously never truly reveals itself until its final sequence, and when it does it makes the film far stronger. Not only does El Indio’s addiction for greed-piling even after accomplishing successful endeavors in a nauseating game of risk come to understandable fruition, but it earns a tiny more clarity to that of our protagonists too. Plus, the payoff just hits harder for the audience due to Leone’s new-founded intimacy between the rivalries and partnerships when compared to his lack of pathos found in Fistful. It’s not done that shockingly by today’s standards, sure, but it still lends itself useful for a pretty good film in my book.
“For a Few Dollars More” is now available to rent on Amazon Prime.