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The Shootist is a film, which was directed by the legendary Don Siegel and produced in the year 1976. It is a modernist film set in 1901 in Nevada. The story revolves around the heroic Books who has made a name for himself when he emerged as a successful gunfighter. It features his last days, which are so turbulent and characterized by lots of challenges. The film covers his last days just before his death when he is making overwhelming wishes. Before meeting his death, he finds himself under the custody of Bond Rogers, a strong-willed widow who owns a magnificent boarding house. His friendship with this family becomes stronger as he is perceived as a good mentor for Ron Howard who is the only son in this family. However, this does not last long before he is caught up by his former foes. This becomes a turning point in his life. Having achieved something in his life, he now wants to enjoy a peaceful death. Therefore, he spends his time looking for a better way through which he could die without enduring any pain and agony. However, this is not fulfilled as he is interrupted by his enemies who deny him a dignified death he has been hoping for. Despite the fact that he kills all his enemies, he later dies after receiving two gun shots. This fatal dwell marks the tragic end of his life.
The Shootist is a modernist film because it has various elements of this genre in it. This can be depicted from the way it is composed and presented. Its thematic concerns, stylistic devices, and the arrangement of the plots are clear indications of a modernist work of art. There is a shift from the traditional literature, which is embedded in the traditional concepts of narration and depiction of facts in reflection of the society. However, Don brings a breakthrough in this genre when he extensively employs new features throughout the film. This can be seen in the following areas:
To begin with, The Shootist involves the use of formal characters. There are so many characters in this film each of whom has a distinct role to play. These include Books, Queen Victoria, Hostetler, Bond Rogers, Gillom, Marshal Walter Thibido, Mike Sweeney, Moses, Jack Pulford, and Jay Cobb. The interaction between the Books, the protagonist, and other characters is similar to a typical society. It involves the normal agreements and conflicts, which is always seen in modernist literature. While there is a cordial relationship between the protagonist and other characters like Bond Rogers, Gillom, Old flame Serepta, and Marshal Walter Thibido, there is a turbulent relationship between him and others like Mike Sweeney and the two strangers who engage him in a dwell. The conflict is particularly witnessed when Mike opts to avenge Books for the murder of his brother. Later, Books is confronted by his enemies who launch a shoot out on him. However, after his death, it is only the young Gillon who demonstrates his love for his slain friend when he covers his dead body. He is saddened because of the close relationship they had. As already highlighted, their friendship starts when Books is welcomed in their family by his mother who wants him to mentor this young boy. The kind of interactions amongst all the characters is showing that this film is a modernist one.
Besides, The Shootist is rich in symbolism. Don extensively employs this device throughout the film to help in the delivery of his message to the viewers. The death of Books is symbolic of his fulfillment as a gun shooter who was able to live a life of fulfillment. As a fighter, he did a lot of things, which made him be popular in his community. Later, he could not have a peaceful death as he had been planning, especially during his last days on earth. As a human being, he knew that he would die one day. Therefore, he was prepared to face his death in a bold manner. This is why, he was ready to traverse the community and come across people like Lauren. Eventually, he was not able to accomplish this desire. Although this was a very big blow to him, it was symbolic of how people’s past can haunt them. Instead of focusing on his future, he concentrated on the past. All the things he had done in the past would later influence his l.............
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