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USA 1972
Directed by
Sam Peckinpah
118 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Getaway

Although it does not attract the reverential treatment accorded to his darker, more fatalistic movies such as The Wild Bunch made two years earlier, Peckinpah's heist/chase movie is terrifically entertaining roller-coaster ride with many signature Peckinpah characteristics, not least of which his unremitting anti-establishmentarianism, and, for the genre, an unusually solid development of the relationship between Doc McCoy (Steve McQueen) and his wife Carol, played by Ali MacGraw (the pair initiated a real life relationship with MacGraw leaving her husband, renowned producer, Robert Evans, who, ironically, had pushed her into taking the part).

Based on a novel by Jim Thompson and scripted by Walter Hill, Peckinpah has fun with the conventions of the genre, infusing it with all manner of sexual suggestiveness (including a rather bizarre relationship between a dentist's wife and a sadistic thug) and you're never going to root as hard for a pair of criminals to make good their getaway from the cops and the bad guys chasing them as Doc and his wife. Indeed the Peckinpah/Hill ending is diametrically opposed to that of the original novel but given all that has gone before one can only be thankful that they chose it, even at the cost of critical disdain. MacGraw's lack of acting ability was another source of critical ire but if she initially appears oddly wooden, somehow the playfulness of the movie gradually makes it seem quite appropriate.




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