The Wild Bunch

Posted by: | March 11, 2009 | Comments Off on The Wild Bunch

Ah, the last of the westerns and the western hero.
Symbolically dying at the end of the film along with the genre.
Peckinpah creates a western world that is fluxuating and changing before the very eyes of these traditional cowboys.
Chased from the north and forced to go south, their aging bodies are apparent and detrimental to their survival.
It would be impossible to watch a Peckinpah film without making mention of the representation of violence within the film.
And if you’ve ever seen “Straw Dogs” you’ll know that this is a re-occuring theme.
The violence is absolutely crude and messy in “The Wild Bunch”
The visual proponent of spraying blood from bullet wounds, bodies falling off buildings and cliffs, and horses slamming into the ground are all extreme in their depiction and scarily realistic.
HIs editing style is very succinct, hardly giving longer then a second before each cut ( during the opening sequence in the town especially ).
This method of editing really rackets up the feeling of utter mayhem during the scene and lack of control.
The innocent town folk are caught up within the gunfight and are mowed down by stray bullets.
There are children clutching each other in the middle of the fight, looking scared and evidently bound to be affected their entire life by these events. During the last scene, one of the characters uses a mexican woman as a body shield to absorb any bullets that come his way.
Peckinpah also uses slow motion to add to these violent outbursts too, for example a horse crashing through a window in slow motion.
Handheld POV camera work is also used as a disorienting tactic and evokes even more mayhem.
As for the portrayal of Mexico, we are introduced to a ridiculous, indulgent military group who hire these men to steal rifles.
They are seen as untrustworthy and cutthroat, everything you need to survive in these tough lands.
The other Mexican group we see are the fighters from the village near where Angel is from, who are amazingly stealthy, calm and seem to give off a sense of earthly wisdom. It’s funny that there is no in between shown. The Mexican men are either drunk, rowdy fighters, or, stealthy, wise fighters.
Funnily enough it is Angel who the Mexican military group torture and embarrass as opposed to an American, even though there is a clear tension and dislike between the Americans and this group in the film. Perhaps this speaks to a lack of national identity at these times, keeping in mind that this is also shown through the storytelling of Peckinpah.


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