20 December 2011

11. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID




Here are my notes:

-- Credits - setting the locale, the main concern (trains, robbery).
-- Butch scene: we see who he is. Sundance, he's a quick draw.
-- They're silly, dopey, funny, not great at stealing.
-- Hole In the Wall Gang: more setup -- Bolivia/gold -- "I got vision and the rest of the has bifocals."
-- Gang trying to defect from Butch's leadership, must fight the gang's bully (he's a huge dude) to regain control.
-- Inciting Incident: Rob the Union/Pacific railroad -- E.H. Harriman -- they dynamite it -- they watch as sheriff unsuccessfully tries to form a posse to find them.
-- Sundance with woman -- switcheroo -- we think he's about to rape her, instead we realize they're together -- SUBPLOT
-- Butch takes her on a bike ride ("Raindrops" scene) -- payoff to bike setup -- huckster selling bikes to the crowd formed about starting a posse -- fill in the blanks -- he bought one, braving the posse that was trying to get him.
-- They rob a train again, use too much TNT -- posse chases them as they pick up the money.
-- They hide out but are found out, must steal horses to escape -- LIFE/DEATH -- all stories that last are about characters in life or death situations. There has to be that element of death for the audience to truly care about the characters.
-- Travel around trying to evade posse -- slow 2nd act shit. They do this for a long time, longer than you might think, longer than you would in a contemporary movie.
-- They jump off a cliff to avoid capture/certain death.
-- Discover they are still being chased by railroad guy, so they decide to go to Bolivia with their lady. "I won't watch you die," she says.
-- MIDPOINT: so, of course, there is a montage. There is so often a montage after the midpoint. And the midpoint is often a location change, a reset, a further lock-in after the lock-in at the first act break.
-- They go to a bank but can't rob it because they don't speak Spanish!
-- Montage of the salad days -- lots of clever robberies, learning Spanish, being chased.
-- Act 3 (25 minutes left): The old marshal (we recognize his hat) has tracked them down, so they decide to go straight, get jobs as payroll guards at a mine. We get another demo of Sundance's amazing shooting.
-- Ambushed with their boss -- he's killed -- first real violence we've seen -- IT'S SERIOUS -- we get a sense that they are in over their heads now -- they kill the banditos, a rare thing for these robbers.
-- Their lady leaves, goes back to the U.S. They rob dudes in the jungle who recognize them ("Banditos gringos").
-- They go back to town, a horse they stole is recognized, they get shot at.
-- BIG gunfight against the police -- they eventually get tagged.
-- Reinforcements arrive during a lull -- they're outnumbered by an absurd amount. Go out shooting with a freeze frame.
-- It shares a theme with THE WILD BUNCH (the death of the wild west way of life), but the particulars and the tone (much more light-hearted) set it apart. THE WILD BUNCH is better.

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