Thursday, January 17, 2008

Best Movie #73 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

In our latest installment of movies from the American Film Institute's best 100 movies of all time, Sarah and I watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid last night (thus making me late for pool night). This one weighed in at #73. (We're watching them on an availability basis.)
I was a little disappointed. I mean, it was a good movie, but definitely not among the best I've ever seen.
Probably the most notable point of the movie was the striking lack of dialog. The opening scene has Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) quietly walking around looking at something. As the scene develops, the audience begins to understand that he's looking at a bank and that he's scouting it for a robbery, but he there are no words for a good minute or two. This is kind of thing is repeated several times throughout the movie.
Most of the movie is taken up with Butch and Sundance's robbing of banks or trains and subsequent escapes from the law. It ends predictably in a bloody shoot out, unpredictably in Bolivia (apparently true to life).
One one level, it's just a simple crime-doesn't-pay movie that half glorifies crime and half shows how stupid it is. On another level, it shows the personality of Butch and Sundance as real people with real relationship and real feelings. There is a pretty cool scene with Butch playing around on a bicycle, having tender moments oddly enough with Sundance's girlfriend.
I guess the beauty of it is in its simplicity. It is slow moving and straight forward. It just tells a story, or almost lets the story tell itself. The dialog is often sparse (partly because of Sundance's reticence, which reminded me often of Sarah's dad), and the humor is wry. I often had the sense that these were just two guys doing an ordinary day's work, enjoying a genuine friendship. The robbing seemed almost incidental to their friendship.
Over all, I'll give the movie the josh rating of: jjj. (I would give it 3 1/2, but that doesn't really work so well.)
Post a Comment