The Wild Bunch

Posted by: | March 10, 2009 | Comments Off on The Wild Bunch

I really disliked this movie. The plot of the film was convoluted and made little sense to me. I was not even sure until the end of the movie who the main protagonists were or whether or not I was supposed to even sympathize with them. Those characters who were followed throughout the majority of the film were never fully developed and therefore I had no feelings of attachment to them, especially when they died. In fact, I was overjoyed when one of the female characters actually managed to obtain some power; shooting one of the men a part of the grotesque group. I did have some hope for the plot at the beginning of the film, yet over time the men became less human and more monstrous. The film seemed to be influenced by a pastiche of other works, involving conquests of power and the concept of manifest destiny. The novel, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, specifically came to mind while watching The Wild Bunch, as the men are led through the unknown world of Mexico. Like Africa, which was considered the “dark continent,” when Heart of Darkness was written is like the Mexican culture depicted in the film, as the people were put on display as something enigmatic and almost primitive. Like the novel, there seems to be a split between civilization and barbarianism. Anything that is unknown and unfamiliar to the men, is emphasized as something primitive. Yet on the other hand, the unknown is also eroticized. The women are depicted as disposable, as they are extremely sexualized and seem to be only good for one thing, sex. As a result, the people are only seen as spectacles, appearing savage-like and untamed. The women merely aid the men as their foils, while the men drive the plot forward. For example, after Angel has killed his “ex-girlfriend,” he is accused of plotting the death of the leader of the Federales. However, once he makes it clear that he was just jealous and only had the intentions of killing his ex-girlfriend, everything is overlooked. The film forces the women to function within a man’s world, only as objects of their desire. The film, The treasure of the Sierra Madre also seemed to influence the Wild Bunch. Like Humphrey Bogart, the outlaws also become more coniving and hungry for power. They are corrupted by their desires and blinded by their conquest.
The Wild Bunch exploits Mexican culture, especially the cultural traditions, as they show the older women having a funeral for the ex-girlfriend of Angel. When the group of men first visit Angel’s village, the way the people were depicted, reminded me of the first film we watched, in which the culture was portrayed as peaceful and exotic, as the women were shown in their maternal roles. Throughout the film, when Mexican “culture” was shown, the Mexican fanfare would start up, indicating romance and well, drunken bafoonery. For example when some of the men from the group get together with the Mexican women, they are laughing and drinking, while the same joyous music plays in the background. The women have no objection and allow themselves to be groped and canoodled.
Some other elements of the film that caught my attention were the amount of zoom-in shots. I am not sure if these were suppose to excite the audience and cause for dramatic tension or what the director’s strategy was. Another element I noticed was how the men were always laughing, whether it was out of cruelty or pure joy. This just goes to show that comedy does often take root at someone else’s expense. In the beginning when the scorpion is attacked by the ants, perhaps this is suppose to foreshadow the mens’ destinies, as the children laugh at the scorpion’s misfortune. Overall, I thought the film had cheap entertainment value and had little to no resolution.


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