Written on: 21/08/2005 by Gagnor Regis (31 reviews written)
The Wild Bunch is one of my all time favourite westerns and one of my all time favourite films. It has a nihilistic punk quality to it which appeals to me more and more as I get older.
Sam Peckinpah known for his use of violence dishes up one of the most apocalyptic scenes ever filmed in a western.
The story focuses on a group of outlaws who are at the end of their careers and have nowhere to go. The cast of Ernie Borgnine, Bill Holden, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson etc give some of their best ever performances. The landscape and soundtrack add substance to the loner characters who rob trains and sell the guns they steal to Mexican revolutionaries.
Like the Magnificent Seven it was based - although more loosely - on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. But this film has a deep intensity which is closer to the Kurosowa fable. The finale involves one of the most violent shoot outs in the history of cinema as the bunch shoot out in a suicide pack against the Mexican warlord and his army in a hopeless but worthy gesture to save one of their colleagues after a double crossing. Very influential for the likes of Tarantino and Scorcese.
The real power of the film is the understated acting especially Holden and the doomed sense of a way of life drawing to a close. A theme visited over and over again in the western genre but here given its most modern twist.
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