CLIO FINAL - page 29

that the very thing that is being presented in this
film - outlaws fighting against an authority with
increasing control - is the very subject of the films
that were beginning to replace the cowboy genre
as a whole. Hollywood used a film, portraying two
countercultural heroes doing battle with authority,
in order to push back against people who would
do exactly the same – fight against a film industry
sticking to a rose-tinted picture of the world and
distinct genres with set moulds for films.
However it is not quite as distinct as this as film
is much more complex than a mere ploy to combat
the rising tide of counter-culturalism. It struck a bal-
ance between stark elements by diffusing its coun-
tercultural protagonists with classic hero tropes
and diluted criminality with handsome actors. But it
went both ways, as the film paired its glorious and
epic style with witty and cynical dialogue that cuts
through some of the more sickly-sweet moments.
Another glaringly modern element comes in the
form of a famous musical interlude, when Butch
takes Etta out on a long bicycle ride while Burt
Bacharach’s ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head’
plays in the background. The use of this 60s pop
song to cut through the dramatic flow of the film’s
plot is interesting as this odd scene is out of place
in the genre, and its considerable length is certainly
not merited by the little depth that it adds. Howev-
er it does tie in with another theme used to com-
ment on time and its passage – the bicycle.
The bicycle, despite its short presence in the film,
is frequently referred to as ‘the future.’ It acts as a
motif which is used to remind the audience of the
disparate time zones the film is working in (a bicy-
cle so newly-fangled in the late 1890s has become
utterly normalised by the 1960s), and as a way to
represent the theme of the new era: Butch acquires
the bike around the time that the posse come to
town, and has his brief trip riding round the farm.
Then, when the gang decide to flee the country for
Bolivia, Butch flings the bicycle into the gutter with
the words “The future’s all yours, you lousy bicy-
cle.” This is a snarky quip characteristic ofWilliam
Goldman’s up-to-date script, a parallel that serves
to strongly reinforce the theme of the threat of the
future so present in this meta-text.
What the makers of this filmmanage to do,
through an exploration of this theme and a compar-
ison between the modern (60s) and the turn of the
century, is strike a impressive balance between the
best elements of counterculture in the film world
and the glorious historical cinema, particularly
cowboy films. These characterised the Hollywood
of the past, and thereby created a film that is both
enjoyable and fulfilling to watch.
Luca Ferraro 10D
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