Friday, February 10, 2017

Movie Review: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969)

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Movie"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"
Year Nominated: 1970
Director: George Roy Hill
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Did It Win?: No.

The story of outlaws Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) towards the latter half of their career as bank and train robbers, all the while being pursued by a group of bounty hunters.

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" is directed by Gregory Roy Hill and is written by William Goldman. This filmed earned 7 Oscar nominations, including best picture and best director. Goldman took home a statuette for best original screenplay. It stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the titular Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. Butch is the brains of the operation and the leader of their little group of outlaws. Sundance, on the other hand, is the gunfighter, a quick draw with a pistol with deadly precision. They rob banks and trains, but do their best to leave innocent people unharmed. When the two of them become the target of a group of bounty hunters, they flee to Bolivia where they continue their life of crime.

The acting from both Newman and Redford is impeccable. They do a brilliant job bringing these two anti-heroes to life. Despite being criminals, both characters are charming enough where you can't help but like them, even though what they are doing is wrong. That being said, there is a bit of an uneven tone to this film as a whole as it dances between dramatic biopic, action western, and comedic farce. There is one scene in particular, though somewhat iconic, that just feels out of place. This is the scene where Butch is riding Etta, played by Katharine Ross, around on a bike to the tune of Burt Bacharach's "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head." It's a cute scene...if it were in a different movie. It feels woefully out of line and out of place with everything else in this particular film. Is it meant to humanize Butch and Sundance? Because they already stay away from murdering innocent people, and that's pretty damn human. It feels included solely to appeal to a certain type of moviegoer that existed heavily at that time (read: hippies), those who may have been turned off by such a picture in all other ways. It's too campy for a film like this. That being said, there are some grand shots of desert landscapes and some tremendous cinematography that's pretty to look at, though these instances aren't enough to make a movie memorable.

For us, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" will go down as another classic piece of cinema that didn't quite live up to the hype. There just isn't enough substance to this movie apart from gunslinging and some off, odd tonal shifts. It feels like more of a "you had to be there" type of flick.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
Last Oscar season, we were watching: "The Quiet Man"

Two Oscar seasons ago, we were watching: "Hugo"

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