By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
Marksman Matthew Quigley (Tom Selleck) answers a job offer from wealthy rancher Elliott Marston (Alan Rickman) in Australia. Quigley makes his way to the ranch, but upon witnessing the lawless behavior of the Rancher’s men begins to question why he is being hired on. His suspicions are confirmed when Marston explains to Quigley that he’s been hired to kill all the Aborigines on his land. Quigley objects (Read: throws Marston through a window) and is taken out into the wilderness to be left for dead. He is accompanied by Crazy Cora (Laura San Giacomo), a mentally unbalanced woman he’d previously saved from being raped by Marston’s employees. They are found and nursed back to health by Aborigines, where Quigley begins to plan his war on Marston. Marston meanwhile resumes his genocidal mission.
I’d expect nothing less from Hans Gruber…
Matthew Quigley is like the Indiana Jones, an absurdly talented adventurer with a serious streak of righteousness (Ironic then, that Selleck was once considered for Jones role) Quigley Down Under might have been released in 1990, but it has the 1980’s written all over it, in the Politically Correct exploits of its superhero like protagonist. Tom Selleck may not be the most versatile actor, but in this film he delivers what he does best:
Being curiously mustachioed…
Alan Rickman was fresh off of his acclaimed performance as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and his Elliott Marston could have been a great grandfather. Sure, one could argue that Rickman is in cruise control, not trying to diversify himself as an actor. Fuck those people, “Die Hard of Australia” should be a thing that exists.
The sinew that holds the film together though is the rousing score by Basil Poledouris. The Quigley score combines a full orchestra arrangement with banjos and other folk instruments with a lead clarinet piece. It is an instantly memorable work that stands as one of the great scores of Western cinema. Poledouris was the most underrated composer of the 1980s, having helmed the classic scores for Conan the Barbarian, Robocop and The Hunt for Red October, among others. Below are two noteable excerpts of the Quigley score, for your listening pleasure. You’re welcome:
The film makes a dark u-turn about halfway through when the full breadth of Marston’s cruelty is encountered. Quigley and Cora witness Marston’s men stampeding an entire family of Aborigines off a cliff, mostly woman and children. This sequence helps to hit home a piece of sad history, and it clashes heavily with the tone of the earlier part of the film. This continues with several other dark sequences that up the stakes of the story considerably. In itself these aren’t a problem, except that the film’s tone changes back to a freewheeling adventure story not long after. Neither part of the story is poorly told, but they feel out of place when combined. Out of place like, well I guess an American in Australia… (Ok, I admit my logic is a bit off on this one…)
Speaking of logical fallacies…
An exciting piece of entertainment for Western fans. But for NRA members, it’s practically pornographic.
Take a Drink: every time Crazy Cora calls Quigley “Roy”
Take a Drink: when Quigley makes an impressive shot
Do a Shot: whenever someone talks about Quigley’s rifle