By: Oberst Von Berauscht (A Toast) -
Doc McCoy (Steve McQueen) and wife Carol (Ali MacGraw), plan and execute an ambitious Texas bank robbery with a team of fellow criminals. While they escape with the money, Doc is quickly betrayed, and flees with his wife for Mexico. Pursued by the law, ex-partners, and the shady businessmen who bankrolled the heist, getting through the Lone-Star State turns out to be a slight challenge.
Pictured above: typical Texas convenience store
Director Sam Peckinpah might have made more famous, or controversial movies (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), but this gem of a heist flick gets overlooked often. Known for containing often disturbing, often violent themes, Peckinpah’s films featured content and visual style that continues to be imitated by filmmakers to this day.
And occasionally parodied…
The Getaway is truly a classic, managing to be more accessible than many of Peckinpah’s other works, while not sacrificing an ounce of grit. And Steve McQueen’s performance is no exception to this. The opening prison sequence gives McQueen a chance to show vulnerability that his action-based career had previously only occasionally hinted at. The quintessential Anti-hero, Doc is not a nice guy, occasionally hitting his wife, and thinking nothing of murder, and yet somehow he makes his character likable. And while he’d one-up this the following year in Papillon, he managed to show that an action star didn’t need to be untouchable all of the time.
You know… unless you’re Charles Bronson
Ali MacGraw also gives a great, morally conflicted performance; while she loves Doc, he doesn’t always return her affections. This coldness leads her into a series of bad decisions and mistakes. And yet she soldiers on with Doc all the way.
It is worth noting that the eccentric film score was composed by African-American music industry pioneer Quincy Jones. The score isn’t overwhelming or notably ambitious, but tight as a glove, and when used it fits each scene beautifully. There is far too much to be said for his career beyond this movie in a single article, but fans of his work will appreciate giving this a look. He did Thriller man… Thriller.
In an incredibly overstuffed genre as the heist flick might be, this is one of the best. Sam Peckinpah’s masterful direction makes this Essential viewing not just for Genre fans, but fans of film as an art.
Take a Drink: (Body-count Edition) Drink with each on-screen death.
Take a Drink: when somebody betrays another’s trust
Drink a Shot: for Peckinah-style Slow-mo