June 12, 2014
Movie Night: The Wild Bunch.
Review #591: The Wild Bunch.
William Holden (Pike Bishop), Ernest Borgnine (Dutch Engstrom), Robert Ryan (Deke Thornton), Edmond O'Brien (Freddie Sykes), Warren Oates (Lyle Gorch), Jaime Sánchez (Angel), Ben Johnson (Tector Gorch), Emilio Fernández (General Mapache), Strother Martin (Coffer), L. Q. Jones (T.C.), Albert Dekker (Pat Harrigan), and Bo Hopkins (Clarence 'Crazy' Lee) Directed by Sam Peckinpah (#590 - Ride the High Country)
Yeah, I should've known that I would review The Wild Bunch. I mentioned it previously in the last review, heck I even knew I was going to watch it before I finished my review of Ride the High Country. I was aware of the reputation this movie had, known for its violence, which was quite bloody, for a Western, the genre that normally treated the West like it was a happy place to be, full of villains easily taken down by the good guy. Peckinpah wanted to change all that. The movie begins and ends with violence, but the main point is to try and make it unsettling and according to Peckinpah, "twist it so that it's not fun anymore, just a wave of sickness in the gut." He succeeds with his goal, though it probably won't make people forget all the blood, which is very present all throughout. The action is well directed and the movie is well made, the flashbacks may not be set up always coherently, but they are at least decent to look at. The characters are outlaws, but we still can identify them as relics in an aging world where the West is slowing dying (in fact, one of the best quotes of the movie is about that: "We've got to start thinking beyond our guns. Those days are closing fast."), and the man hunting them down was once their friend. The whole gang of outlaws are still fun though, they may be outlaws, but they're still enjoyable to watch in their antics. The violence may be a bit unsettling (unless of course you can handle it), but it's very well shot and very well made, and Peckinpah certainly deserves credit for a movie that does all it wanted and a little bit more.
Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars.