by HELEN GEIB
Short posts on my film club’s “movie of the month” series.
John Woo’s cinematic influences are so varied, and so excellent, that there were almost too many options for a pairing with The Killer. I finally decided on Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch because it meant a check mark on that list I keep (we all have one) of movies I must watch someday.
In influence terms, I’d read that The Wild Bunch was significant for Peckinpah’s direction of the action scenes; in particular, the use of slow motion in the gunfights and the intensity and groundbreaking overall bloodiness of the violence. The connection was especially apparent at the climax when the protagonists take turns behind the gatling gun, mowing down a seemingly endless stream of nameless, interchangeable foot soldiers. The use of slow motion in the equally bloody and far more shocking- thanks to the numerous hapless civilians caught in the crossfire- opening robbery is rightly famous.
Although I was vaguely familiar with the plot of The Wild Bunch, it hadn’t clicked that both films are “one last job” stories. Also new to me was the thematic connectedness; the films reveal a shared preoccupation with the outlaw-warrior’s code of honor and the ideal of comradely brotherhood. Underlying the brutality and the de-glamorization of the vanishing old west is that enduring mythos, the romanticization of the gunfighter.
Indy Film Buffs Movie of the Month Series for 2011
January: The Big Lebowski (1998)
February: Footlight Parade (1933)
March: The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005)
April: Double Indemnity (1944)
May: The Killer (1989)
June: The Wild Bunch (1969)
July: Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
August: Far From Heaven (2002)
September: All That Heaven Allows (1955)
October: Eastern Promises (2007)
November: The Roaring Twenties (1939)