Haunting, strange, vivid and compelling. Many events, and also Herzog’s decisions about what to show us, seem inexplicable. The locations are quite incredible and lend the film such an air of reality; it’s often clear that we’re not just seeing these actors act, we’re seeing them experience the wild places Herzog has taken them to and wild events he has conjured. It’s often slow but I never lost interest. Kinski is great, as is the soundtrack. The whole movie feels like a canvas upon which to paint one’s own interpretations; viewers can decide for themselves what this story is a metaphor for, and we’d all be right even with very different answers. Either that or it’s just a bunch of crazy shit Herzog cooked up and managed to capture on film. I can completely understand its cult status.
Solid thriller about a group of city folk who head out into the wilderness for a weekend canoe ride down a raging river, and encounter some less-than-friendly local hillbillies. It’s engaging enough, but I don’t understand the extent of its acclaim. Jon Voight is good, as is Ned Beatty, but Burt Reynolds seems out of his depth (excuse the pun) and a bit hammy. There’s good use of the song ‘Dueling Banjos’, and the hillbillies make good villains, but we don’t see them very much. The subtext about survival and ‘playing the game’ was a bit lost on me, I must say.
Disappointing Clint Eastwood western written by Elmore Leonard (it’s worth pointing out that he died a week after I watched it; I’m not saying his death was related to my disappointment with Joe Kidd, but I’m not saying it wasn’t). It’s not terrible, it’s just wholly generic and not at all memorable. Eastwood’s fine (though the role isn’t a stretch for him), Robert Duvall overplays his role as the villain, and the other performers are largely adequate. The best part is a brief action sequence toward the end involving a train crash.