Sunday, February 27, 2005

Everybody's Talkin' At Me: A Look At "Midnight Cowboy" (1969)

1969's X-rated Best Picture winner, "Midnight Cowboy" shows how the legendary idea of the virtuous, "yeehawing" cowboy, (at the time) was not only a dying symbol of the country's rugged "individualism", but has since turned into downright fantasy. This, in turn, commenting on the shift at the core of American societal values.

Joe Buck, as two of the archetypes here is the wide eyed country boy clinging to his idealism in the face of a hostile world. Ratzo, on the other hand, is the wary and cynical hustler who knows the ways of the city.

More than anything I found this film to be a subtle, and briliant character study with serious comments on American Society in regards to matters of sexuality, drug use, and other such once taboo subjects. The weight of the film rests equally on Hoffman and Voight and both give two of the best performances I have ever seen.

More or less, it is a very simple film but it's scope is so very grand. It is able to balance a variety of themes, and say so much using very little words. The visuals, especially the periodic flashabcks to Joe's past life, are both haunting and disturbing. The sparseness in which they are used adds to the overall feeling that there is so much bubbling right under the surface of this picture.

"Midnight Cowboy" is sad, disturbing, touching, funny, thought provoking, and above all EFFECTIVE. Probably one of my favorite films of all time.

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