Drunken Cowboy Weekend.

Today I saw The Wild Bunch (1969).

This Sam Peckinpah western is thought of as a touching off point for westerns to have darker, more adult themes, and for movies in general to embrace over the top violence (probably greatly inspiring Tarantino). There are, however, a lot of things that are just plain wrong about this movie. Peckinpah was known for cruelty to animals in his movies and his cruelty in general.

He was a man who drank himself to death and this movie seems to celebrate debauchery of drinking where a pair of characters shower themselves in streaming wine in a moment where they are enjoying life. This film, like almost every other Peckinpah movie I’ve seen, treats women like empty vessels who act at the whims of the male characters that facilitate the plot for them. One woman leaves her fiance for the villain and shows real desire toward the villain in a scene where the villain would have taken her against her will in any other movie. The Mexican characters are caricatures that are easily outsmarted or villainous and have hideously stained/dirty teeth. Finally, this movie has an actual body count of animals used on camera and had to be filmed in Mexico at the time because of this poor treatment.

Despite all of the bad things from this movie, things that are more the result of the demons of Peckinpah than a sign of the times, I think I would recommend this movie as worth watching although the overall pace (aside from the action) is a bit slower compared to the movies of the last 20 years.

Letterboxd review.

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