The Getaway (1972) – Mini Review

Don’t underestimate the power of cinema-scope and cinematic effect, they’re invaluable for creating one bad ass movie; Mr Peckinpah, Mr Ballard, I thank you. But lets hear it for Quincy Jones and Walter Hill, the unexpected showstealers, without their contribution, The Getaway wouldn’t be half the gold standard it is.188-1200

Peckinpah’s (although technically Robert L. Wolfe’s) immaculate editing sells Hill’s story; the reliance of contribution and support from every team member is apparent in every detail and aspect. Hill’s pace is fairly unrelenting and the crosscutting permits this: efficiency in storytelling is key. Who better to handle this project than Mr. Wild Bunch AKA Mr. Straw Dogs himself. Hill has taken a very ‘Warriors’ approach to the story: 3 groups of characters trying to get from one place to another. However, his approach this time is a little less clear cut. You’ve got a range of good and bad in an individual sense; some characters lean further in different directions than others, but there’s a sliding scale for everyone. You don’t root for any character, more like you hope for the best; and the worst for everyone is yet to come. Hill has a keen eye for keeping plot, pace, character development and climax building constantly rolling, relentlessly escalating, satisfying as hell.070-the-getaway-1972

Just like Straw Dogs, The Getaway builds to a bloodshed showdown. Though Hill accommodates for the easily distracted by throwing in a shootout or two here and there; personally, I appreciated this a lot, a lot a lot. Don’t get me wrong, Straw Dogs is great, but it is desert dry, tough to chew; The Getaway is much more palatable, easily digestible and just all round more entertaining.

A great introduction into the violent delights of Peckinpah. I bet the celluloid stinks like booze. Next to The Wild Bunch this is his penultimate legacy film.