Monday, June 26, 2017

Script review - "The Wild Bunch" by Walon Green and Sam Peckinpah

This movie is famous for its slow motion, violence, craggy actors and nihilism but it comes from a superb script, very clear in its vision, solidly structured, with well defined characters and a sense of realism.

The action breaks down into key sections:
1) initial disastrous robbery - horribly realistic with innocent people being wiped out (something most action films never show)
2) fleeing into Mexico - giving it great pace with Deke and his bunch chasing after the Wild Bunch
3) meeting Mapache and arranging to do a robbery for him
4) committing the robbery - this robbery goes well, showing how skilled the Bunch actually are
5) exchanging the rifles with Mapache - Pike is no fool, but they lose Angel
6) the final shoot out
7) the epilogue with Deke going off to join the revolution.

It's well paced and exciting. Green and Peckinpah expertly sketch all the leads: Pike the leader, driven, smart, tormented (we didn't really need the flashbacks); loyal Dutch, who doesn't like alcohol or women though kills as many innocents as everyone else, and acts as a sort of moral counterpoint for Pike; Deke, terrified of going back to prison, super smart, forced to work with incompetent mercenaries (I like that touch especially); the loathsome Gorch brothers who do everything together; cackling old Sykes, a once super bad man who is still given good skills; Angel, the tough nut Mexican who shoots his ex, but has loyalty to his village.

The big weakness: all the female characters are whores or religious nuts. As in all of them.

It's an action film full of exciting moments, great characters, which is about something (the importance of honour). Peckinpah's masterpiece.

No comments: