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Rolling Thunder (1977) - Page 4
Heywood Gould is fantastic. He wrote another movie I like (though its not anywhere as good as this one) called Fort Apache the Bronx, a conventional buddy cop movie starring Paul Newman that manages to rise above itself by allowing its characters to breathe between the typical action cop beats. The link from earlier in the thread, shows what Heywood provided, the emotional heft to Devane's family scenes, the killer lines that just pop, the shed scene, basically all the great stuff in the movie. It's even more impressive against Schrader's first draft, which I'm just getting into, but already displays his tendency for overindulgence and political hay-making. Rolling Thunder is a great example for the idea that its better to use a word instead of a sentence to express something, or better yet, nothing at all.
Heywood Gould is fantastic. He wrote another movie I like (though its not anywhere as good as this one) called Fort Apache the Bronx, a conventional buddy cop movie starring Paul Newman that manages to rise above itself by allowing its characters to breathe between the typical action cop beats.
Those quieter moments make all the difference. Like the scene in Tommy Lee Jones' house, with that banal (and racist) talk about cars, while Devane and Jones look at the people around them like their aliens or something. God, I love this movie.
And to be shallow for a second, anyone else think Jones' wife is kinda cute? Just me?
I would so get this if I didn't think that somewhere in the near future an HD version of this would be coming out. Or not. I guess if MGM has the DVD rights, then they have the blu-ray rights too. Dammit. These decisions are tearing me apart, Lisa!
UK Blu-Ray release confirmed for 5/30/11. Most likely to be Region 2 Locked, as its released by Optimum, and I hear that's there MO. Also of note coming from them on Blu in the next six months is Roeg's "Don't Look Now" and Peckinpah's "Cross of Iron".
Enjoyed this a lot while I was watching it (on the Optimum UK Blu), but the more I thought about it afterwards, the more problems I had with it.
The film sometimes seems to endorse the scumbag's impression of Devane when they're pushing his hand down the garbage chute: "That is one macho motherfucker." Except he isn't. He's immensely traumatized by being tortured over a period of years, and conditioned to absorb the pain. Early on the film does such a great job of conveying Devane's disconnection with his feelings and the world around him that I thought the film was pointing out being macho had nothing to do with it. This man was damaged.
But then, after the final shootout, Devane helps Lee Jones to his feet, and says something to the effect of "Let's go home, buddy." OK, so now they can go home, but before, they couldn't? So killing off the gang of scumbags has lifted the trauma from them and allowed them to return to normal society? That wasn't definitely the case, but that was one reading I took away from it - the final line and final shot seem to lack the ambiguity you might expect (e.g, Bickle catching his reflection in the rear view mirror at the end of "Taxi Driver"). Lee Jones already said goodbye to his family - but now he's cool to return?
I didn't get any racist sense from it at all, so don't know where Schrader's coming from with that.
Fantastic work from all the actors though, and I loved the choreography of the action - recognizably the work of the same director as "Out For Justice."
I don't know, even with Devane saying that, the carnage on display belies his point. I think his revenge is cathartic, but only to a point. I feel like there's a bit of irony to that "let's go home" line.
Great movie, by the way. Can't wait to buy the Blu.
I guess so, I dunno - any ambiguity (with their expressions, the tone of his statement, and that song kicking in over the credits) is very, very subtle if it's there. I got the sense that everything had been put to rest after a bit of righteous payback, which is fair enough - I love me some fools getting wasted, vigilante-style - but feels like a betrayal of the first half of the film.
The film it reminded me of, oddly, was 8mm. That has a similar build-up towards what feels like an ending that can only go one way, but then steps back and provides a much more conventional ending than was previously suggested.
(I know the ending of 8mm was changed from something tonally consistent - the main character committing suicide by driving his car straight at a brick wall - to what we got, naff redemption. As much as I enjoyed it, I thought Rolling Thunder was somewhat guilty of the same thing).
Fantastic title also, though.