Friday, July 18, 2014

Retro Review: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

                                 I'd Come Along For The Ride With These 'Kids'

                Whenever I say that a film is the "whole package", I mean that it has brilliant direction, writing, and acting. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid not only has that, but a brilliantly written story that despite the fact that it is an older film and is a Western, still is a story for the ages.

        Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid follows the story of two outlaws named Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the "Sundance Kid" (Robert Redford). Both men are on the run from the law and head over to Bolivia to try and escape after they attempt a train robbery. Coming along for the ride is Sundance's lover Etta (Katharine Ross).

                One thing I absolutely LOVED was the chemistry between Newman and Redford. I liked watching these two actors play off each other and brilliantly pull off their such colorful characters. It was neat watching them go on an adventure and made me feel like I was being taken along for the ride. That is one  thing I like about movies, when the main characters take the audience on their physical or emotional journey. I also thought the way the two main characters were developed was very fascinating. Butch is essentially the "brains" of the duo as he fights using tactic and the Kid likes to engage in gunfights. I even thought the scenes between Newman, Redford, and Katharine Ross were also very nice and added a lighter touch to the film.

               Another thing I liked was how the action scenes were directed. Even though there isn't a whole lot of action scenes, whenever they do happen, they are explosive. Especially the final shootout at the very end of the film where (*possible spoiler alert*) a bunch of Bolivian troopers are waiting for the two heroes outside armed with guns and right after that, the scene cuts to Butch and the Kid talking about their possible next destination. So, I did really like the action scenes as well as the scenes where Butch and the Kid try to make a pit stop but the same posse of troopers keep pursuing them as the film progresses. In my opinion, those scenes really add to the cat-and-mouse feel the film has. Not only is Butch Cassidy a "cat-and-mouse" film, but it also works as a Western and fits the era the film was released in, the 60's, as it demonstrates the audience rooting for two young outlaws fighting the government or a higher power. If anyone besides myself wants to figure out how to create a multi-dimensional story, I would say take a quick look at this film and take a few notes because this is not only brilliantly directed and has tremendous performances from its leading men, but it is also a writer's movie.

            One minor nitpick is at times, I did feel it dragged. Only at small points, not most of the film. Besides that, nothing else.

           Overall, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is an essential piece of filmmaking that is not only the "whole package" (Brilliant directing, acting, screenwriting), but offers a multi-dimensional story that despite being an old Western, has a timeless quality. I would put this HIGH on your watch list as it is a classic that has been on many Greatest Films list and it is definitely not hard to see why. I would even say give it a watch just to see Newman and Redford be awesome as well as for the beautiful setting, the tremendous directing and to learn how to write a script. Butch Cassidy is just perfection.

Grade: A+