Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Thieves like Us (1974) 70's Marathon 11#

Directed by: Robert Altman
Crime, Drama
123 Minutes

Robert Altman’s 1930’s-set bank heist movie is one of a different approach to the genre that does not consist of theatrical hold-ups and shoot-outs. Instead, we are given a character study of a group of thieves in possibly one of the most dysfunctional families in cinema. Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall and Louise Fletcher all give this film its quality, of showing the strange relationships all these characters have.

As I said, the film does not have very much action, and focuses more on the characters and their personal lives. The robberies seem brief, and almost insignificant to what is really in question- the mentality of the characters. Bowie (Carradine) and Keechie (Duvall) have a relationship that shares a little similarity to Bonnie and Clyde (1967); except one is not involved in the crimes.

The films finale is very reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde, but I wish not to spoil it. The characters in the film are corrupt, and the Bowie’s family is a very dysfunctional one indeed. From playacting a bank robbery (with real guns present) with their children, to sexual relationships with cousins, their family is certainly an oddity. I loved Louise Fletcher here, and her presence felt similar to her role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as a bossy and nasty person.

The props and costumes feel authentic, but the films overall look and tone is drab and gritty. This of course, mirrors the story and characters feelings, but it made the film look unattractive and cloudy. Altman’s approach to the genre certainly has its individuality, but I would have liked to see more of the bank robberies. I also found the romance between Keechie and Bowie not to be emotionally engaging, and at times felt lacking. Nevertheless, Thieves Like Us is entertaining and sometimes comedic which makes it a unique crime movie.



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