Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" owes a lot of its success to "Bonnie and Clyde"...it tries to recapture the magic, to entertain, and to make a masterpiece—I would hesitate to say that it failed on all three counts. This isn't to say that the movie isn't enjoyable, because it is; but it is so blown up and comical that it failed to make me actually care about the main characters. In this explosion of dry wit and big names, the movie actually becomes boring.
The movie is handled stylishly by director George Roy Hill, who chooses to shoot nostalgically. He drains some of the film of its color until it looks like a late 19th century photograph or an early 20th century silent film. But this isn't all of the time—no, he does this for the beginning scene (which is quite good) and then lets the color return to the screen. Yet, with all this thought of the past, it's amazing that a song like "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" sneaks in there. I don't know what is going on with the music of this film, but apparently some people do because the film won two Oscars in the music category.
What do you need to know about the film before you go into it? There's two men: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...they're criminal et voila! There's the movie.
Instead of "Bonnie and Clyde" which somehow remained manically entertaining and challenging, this film is a blockbuster that seeks to draw in the biggest crowd.
The coy dialogue that is more of verbal sparring between Cassidy and the Kid is ahead of its time and unnecessary...it's better seen in a movie like Soderbergh's "Ocean's 11".
Robert Redford and Paul Newman seem like the dream team when it comes to star power and they are both equally enjoyable in their roles. My problem is that the movie wasn't captivating enough to remind me that both these stars have made better films: Newman was in "Cool Hand Luke" two years prior to "Butch Cassidy and the Sundace Kid" and Redford would go on to direct "Ordinary People".
As much as I wanted to like the film, I found that I really couldn't because not much happens in it. There are two train robberies and a really, really long chase scene...that's it. The scenes that could have been interesting like traveling to Bolivia or the actual heists themselves are played out in montage sequences. We are deprived of the meat of the movie.
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" implies many, many things that it does't follow through with. There are hints of a devilish menage a trois, and if not that, at least one man wanting another's girl. But then, this is just dropped and forgotten about in those montage sequences.
You can see the film's influence in movies like Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven"; but in the end, what does "Butch Cassidy and the Sundace Kid" do? I'm not really sure.
The movie starts out saying most of what follows is true. I like this beginning, it knows its own campiness.
But then it tries to hard to be something that it's not. "Die Hard" is deliciously entertaining, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundace Kid" just seems confused.
Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones