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Memorable buddy movie, not quite a bullseye
on 9 December 2008
Saw this film in the mid seventies and loved it; was surprised to find how hard it was to obtain on DVD, what with Al Pacino and Gene Hackman starring.
Seeing it again, I can now sort of see that this Mice and Men-type buddy movie, although highly agreeable and certainly recommended and worthwhile viewing, is nevertheless several notches down from, say, Midnight Cowboy (or the original film of Mice and Men itself).
Is this the acting or the writing or both? Not sure - but perhaps it's simply that although we see Hackman battling and conquering his demons (sort of) by the end, his fatal flaw (a tendency to beat the cr*p out of those looking at him funny) is indulged perhaps too easily, so that even though (as in Mice and Men itself, of course) we know the characters are probably ultimately doomed, it may be a bit too clearly signalled in this film. But I'm not sure.
There is also an element of the two actors being given their head - you get lots of scenes, lots of locations (on the journey to Pittsburgh and the Hackman character's proposed Car Wash - shades of George and Lennie's farm) which captivate beat by beat but don't necessarily add up to a coherent whole. But again, I'm not sure about that. Try it. Maybe I'm being too harsh. Lots of memorable moments. But having watched Midnight Cowboy recently that story felt tighter, more specific, more painstakingly assembled.