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Il mio West

2016 has gotten off to a sad start for music and film fans with the news of David Bowie’s untimely passing. Bowie’s musical legacy is a given that speaks for itself but his acting work hasn’t always commanded the same levels of attention. His quite menacing and unnerving performance as Jack Sikora in Giovanni Veronesi’s revisionist Spaghetti Western Il mio West (1998) was largely overlooked at the time of the film’s release and the film is rarely mentioned at all these days.

Here Bowie’s villainous and unhinged gunfighter Jack Sikora plans to ruin Johnny Lowen’s (Harvey Keitel) retirement plans by forcing him into one last gunfight. Bowie looks the part in his striking outfit and he gets good support from Michelle Gomez, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Stephen Jenn, who play the equally psychotic and coolly-dressed members of his bizarre but dangerous gang (Gomez’s performance plays like a dry run for her role as Missy in Dr Who). This being a Spaghetti Western, Bowie gets to play and use an acoustic guitar in an ultra-threatening manner while menacingly intoning ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’.