Thursday, August 10, 2017

Script review - "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" by Sam Peckinpah and Gordon Dawson

The greatest title of a movie ever? Reviews of this late period Peckinpah epic are mixed, to put it politely - some think it's a mess, others a masterpiece. I think it's got a bit of "unloved action film" chic about it, plus it's so obviously Peckinpah at his purest - full of whores and craggy middle aged Americans, set in Mexico, lots of violence, it feels like a cocaine-fuelled fever dream.

I love the fact the Macguffin is someone's head. I think it was a mistake to reveal so early that Garcia is dead - it means there's not much suspense when Bennie and his girl go looking for the corpse. Peckinpah tries to liven things up by having two men come along randomly and raping the girk - she's not too fussed but Bennie shoots them dead (he's described in the script as "soft" when we meet him but he sure learns how to kill fast).

Also too much time is spent by Bennie wondering why they want Garcia dead. I know that's what the character wants to know but we know it, and it's frustrating to hear him wonder. It feels long. I got confused in the script that Bennie goes to Spain (is that right?). Also he didn't die at the end. I think that was changed for the final film.

But there's plenty of action and violence, the script has integrity in its nihilistic attitude, I loved Bennie talking to the head. It's not a lot of fun to spend time with these people but it is interesting.

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