What was the intent of Canevari and company when they made Matalo? Were they attempting art? Were they trying to say something with this western? Or were they simply attempting to make as entertaining a film as possible with very limited resources?
At once the jerky in and out of focus camera caused me to think of Lars Von Trier. Von Trier uses this technique counterintuitively. One would think this would distance the viewer but it is intended to do the opposite -- to pull the viewer into the action. Von Trier considers perfectly composed images a distraction. He wants to suck you into his world and pummel you with emotion. And he manages to do it. The same was true for me of Matalo, it pulled me in.
While far from being the most violent of spaghetti westerns it FELT very violent as I watched it. Emotionally violent or disturbing. Matalo is sadistic to it's characters and to it's audience.
Was this Canevari's intent?
Bart (Corrado Pani) is a guru of death. He almost casts a spell over those he meets. In the opening a widow (it's implied that Bart murdered her husband) commits suicide over his rejection. Bart massacres the gang who free him from death. Mary (Claudia Gravy) gives her body and her life for him.
Bart creates a cycle of continuing violence in his wake. Mary (Claduia Gravy) sleeps with Phil (Luis Davia) in order to gain his trust with the intent to betray and kill him for Bart. But she also mercilessly sexually teases Ted (Antonio Salines) simply because she can. Just as she tortures the stranger Ray (Lou Castel) with a knife. And Mary's prick teasing of Ted is so intense that it drives him to insanely torture the innocent stranger.
But there is disturbing inconsistency too. The ending comes out of nowhere. It doesn't mesh with the scheme of the rest of the film content-wise of sylistically, plus the boomerang stuff in filmed in an inept way and just looks silly. Similarly the opening is stylistically very different from the remainder of the film. It's the jarring disparity between the three sections of the film which make it feel thrown together and incompletely prepared or thought out.
I was certainly never bored by the movie. But apart from the great opening I didn't have FUN watching it. Even if there are supposed to be messages, metaphors, symbols, and the lot in a film (or none of the above) isn't it supposed to be fun?
It held my attention. It made me think. But I don't look forward to watching it again any time soon.
Sorry if this post is incomplete or incoherent, but that's the nature of writing of the top of one's head.
I rated it 3/5.