Top positive review
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Very beautiful and thoughtful film, and Redford does it again
on 7 October 2015
Film: 'The Electric Horseman' (1979)
Well, this was an interesting one. I wasn't expecting a film that was so solid and thoughtful, although anything featuring Robert Redford has a good chance of being both of those things. He has always been the private man concerned about selling out, and in this movie he plays very close to home as the 'electric horseman' himself. This is a film about a champion rodeo cowboy who sells out and loses himself, before coming back to his senses with a bang and rescuing... Well, I won't say what or who he rescues. It's a very interesting film, and one that almost succeeds in pushing you away with the hero's unpleasant life before turning the corner to his redemption. That nastiness is often a very potent deterrent to watching a movie, and can easily be misjudged. For an example of a movie going a little to far, perhaps, check out the the beginning of my much beloved 'Joe Versus The Volcano'. I love it, but it does go too far into the land of nastiness.
So, we have a film, and it's an old fashioned directed by movie legend Sydney Pollack, which stars Redford and Jane Fonda, with a host of other memorable faces. It's thoughtful. Is it worth watching? Yes. It's a film, and one with its heart in the right place. Is it overwhelmingly original? Well, no, but it does what it does with a great deal of skill and expertise, and its success rests entirely on the uniqueness of its leads. As (mutter mutter) Ebert said, it's the equivalent of an older style star vehicle, where the quality is as much in the actors as the script, and that is true. It's a star vehicle for two stars. He also said that they didn't make movies like this anymore, and they still don't.
Hang on, how did this become a tangent onto movies and Roger Ebert? This is supposed to be about 'The Electric Horseman', the titular character's hideous fluorescent show costume, Willie Nelson in one of his first screen roles, Jane Fonda's stupid boots, John Saxon continuing his string of creepy villain performances, country music, and the joys of 'little and big' movies. 'The Electric Horseman' is little AND big, a quality that features in many of my favourite films. Than can mean a small story with large themes, or a large story with personal themes and implications, or many other implications. The point is that it's doing more than one thing, and operating on several scales at once, making it more than just story about a simple cowboy who turns a corner and does something rather heroic, or the redemption of a reporter who may have lost the trees for the woods. There's something very special about 'little and big' films, so seek them out wherever you may. See also: 'African Queen' or 'The Truman Show'.
Good? Yes. Excellent? Depends on your taste. Eerily beautiful in places? Definitely. Is there a token police chase, involving horses, cars and motorcycles? That would be telling.