MOVIE REVIEW: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” stars Paul Newman (Cars, The Hustler), Robert Redford (All is Lost, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and Katherine Ross (The Graduate, Donnie Darko). It was directed by George Roy Hill (The Sting, Slap Shot) and written by William Goldman (The Princess Bride, Marathon Man). Notorious leaders of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, Butch Cassidy (Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Redford), are forced to be on the run once a well-skilled gang, hired by a rich man they constantly rob, get hot on their trail. This begs the question as to how much more thieving Cassidy and the Kid can do.
Every week for my Intro to Film Aesthetics course, I am assigned a movie to watch in order to discuss it in class once Friday arrives. So far, I have seen “The Truman Show,” 1979’s “Superman: The Movie,” “Steamboat Bill Jr.,” “Charade,” and “Metropolis,” yet I haven’t reviewed a single one of them, besides “The Truman Show.” I’ve been meaning to, but never had time, thus missing my opportunity for the last five weeks. I’m not making that mistake this week, however, for I need to tell you my thoughts on “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” a film that has been requested to me quite a few times. Starring a terrific cast of both Paul Newman and Robert Redford, this release is truly a classic, as it displays the fear and difficulty of two real criminals who find trouble in not getting caught. I’m always itching for a Western, even if a previous encounter with one has nudged me the wrong way. 2016’s “The Magnificent Seven” was a nice attempt and proved to be entertaining, but it pales in comparison to this feature on many levels. What makes it work for many generations is how it doesn’t feel like a Western at all. Sure, it’s taking place in the late nineteenth century and the clothing can surely be placed in a Western environment, but there are no one-on-one stand-offs at high noon or obnoxious cowboy talk. It’s all realistic, and serves for a fun experience. Right from the start, we are dealt with some foundational character development. We are shown that Butch Cassidy is the brains of the operation who loves his craft while the Sundance Kid is the brute, willing to get in a gun fight with anyone. The chemistry amongst these two are what make the film. Their bickering and observations provide fantastic dialogue, and Newman and Redford shine in the roles. I loved watching them on screen from the very beginning to the end. They aren’t the best of characters to root for in terms of their morals, but I couldn’t help it; I wanted them to succeed so I can see more adventure. And who knew this journey could be so funny? It isn’t laugh-out-loud hilarious consistently, but there are many occasions where I chuckled because of how smartly written these two characters are, as well as their predicament. The story itself was interestingly placed. Instead of starting from the beginning of their thieving, we are put in a place where they have been criminals for a while, even creating a name for themselves. It is in their newfound struggle that we find the core concept. The fact that their evil deeds have caught up with them makes for engaging entertainment. I was clinging to almost every moment because it can get pretty intense. What makes it all the more gripping is how there is hardly any musical score involved with the production, save for a few songs in certain montages. I could actually hear every footstep, every hustle, and even the cocking of their guns without background noise. One would think that this would make a scene drag, but it actually livened it up, adding to the realism I described earlier. The final battle in this was nail biting and brutal to see the outcome of. All of the action was choreographed well, with no one knocking down many objects as they are shot once or writhing in pain from a hit to the heart. Everything was controlled. When I came to the conclusion of this release, I had difficulty conjuring up something that was wrong with it. If there is anything that I could pick apart as a con, it would be how there are some scenes that step out of realism and become often random and hokey. The bike scene could be this, but there was some odd enjoyment that was found in the moment. No matter the enjoyment, though, it was still random, and I believe that it is due to the song choice. “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” was off-putting when dealing with a story that takes place in the late nineteenth century, as well as the other song picks throughout the release. This is probably a reason why it doesn’t feel like a full-on Western. Overall, I loved this film. It’s high up there in the ranking of Westerns and proves to be a great movie in general. I would recommend anyone to check out this classic. FINAL SCORE: 95%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: