What movie was that...?

11 July 2010

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

directed by George Roy Hill

Anyone who’s anyone knows the story of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Hell, my old chemistry teacher showed us a documentary about some old kook trying to find the final resting place of the duo. But how familiar avec the story you may be doesn’t matter. What matters is the way in which George Roy Hill unfolds the story, and the fun he has doing it. William Goldman’s excellent script is given the treatment it deserves in Hill’s directing. Hill is no chump, BTW. He did direct the Sting, Slaughterhouse Five and Funny Farm, but his finest flourishes and poetics are here in this genre bending western. The always awesome Paul Newman is awesome (as always) as Butch Cassidy, likable outlaw and mouthpiece for the pair of good time bandits. Robert Redford is smoldering cowboy ruggedness as Sundance, and the two play off one another like finely tuned instruments. The influences of films like this are far reaching, indeed, which makes it worthy of note in terms of sheer number of homage sequences found in other films. Guy Ritchie said that when he saw the boxcar explosion sequence for the first time, he knew he wanted to make films, and Danny Boyle refers to the sequence in The Beach where Leo (yes, the Leo) and Guillaume Canet jump down the waterfall as his “Butch and Sundance moment.” And when you watch them square off against the Bolivian army with sadness in your heart, as if you are on the precipice of the end of an era, you will realize the wild ride beauty of a film like this.

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