Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Finally got around to watching Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Such a strange movie. I thought it was really interesting that it used a tragic structure rather than a classic quest structure. At least that's how I see it. It seems like the climax comes about halfway through. After that, it turns from a quest story to a revenge story, and everything after the midpoint is just fallout from the climactic event. (I'm trying not to give any spoilers.) It's not so much a question of getting what he wants because he's already lost everything.

I kept expecting the movie to end abruptly, but it just keeps piling on climactic confrontations. I guess in that sense, it has a lot in common with Point Blank, but Alfredo Garcia does in its second half what Point Blank takes the whole movie to do. Come to think of it, Point Blank starts after the triggering action has already taken place. He's already made his decision. It's like it starts in Act II and unfolds straight toward the climax. Man, I'm going to have to watch Point Blank again now.

What happened to the days when dudes like Lee Marvin and Warren Oates could be the lead in a movie? No offense to Channing Tatum or Chris Hemsworth or these other roided up pretty boys (I shouldn't say that. I'm sure the bulk is all natural), but those dudes were tough without the pumped-up physiques. But they were also weird and brutal and definitely not bros. What actors like that are there now? Mike Shannon? Anyone else?

Final thing about Alfredo Garcia: Dude, Peckinpah is not kind to women. This is no revelation, but I was really struck by it in this film. The misogyny was almost sociopathic. I felt like he was living out some sick fantasies. That said, it was surprising to see a Mexican woman cast as a lead in an American film, and it gave the film a kind of authenticity that was really fascinating. This was a long way from the Charlton Heston as a Mexican stunt of Touch of Evil. I also appreciated that a lot of the Spanish wasn't subtitled, to really put the viewer in Oates's position. I'm going to have to watch this movie again now that I know how it turns out, but it's going to be a while. Ugly stuff expertly done.

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