• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

If, in the final tally, the whole thing adds up to not much more than a beautiful job of construction -- a tidy sum, at that -- I'm nonetheless tantalized by a detectable pattern of repeats and echoes. In adjacent scenes, both the hunter and the hunted (a hunter himself at that moment) ask their respective prey to hold still. Each of them at some point must nurse his own gunshot wound. The lawman sits on the same couch as the killer, drinks milk from the same bottle, and stares, as did the killer, at his reflection in the TV screen. The air ducts in two separate motels facilitate tight-squeeze escapes. Two minor characters utter the fatalistic truism that you can't stop what's coming. Two of the killer's victims make verbatim pleas for their lives: "You don't have to do this." What else? I suspect that the pattern, apart from supplying some textural richness, offers merely a hint, an illusion, of order and meaning in a violent, senseless universe. But I suspect, as well, that I must look at the film again. In the meantime, I provisionally place it safely above The Man Who Wasn't There and The Ladykillers, a shade below Intolerable Cruelty, and clearly outside their amazing unbroken run, seven films, thirteen years, from Raising Arizona through O Brother, Where Art Thou? I will stoutly defend myself against any move, on those grounds, to excommunicate.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

More from the web

Comments

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close