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.
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.
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.