Written by Contributing Writer Ian Rummage/Mr. Blonde

Plot Outline: The story of a down-and-out piano player named Bennie (Warren Oates) who is approached by two hit men to behead a Mexican don juan and small-time thug, Alfredo Garcia. Alfredo, or Al, as Bennie calls him, has looked up the wrong dress – as in the daughter of El Jefe, who is apparently a father-figure to Garcia. Bennie is looking for easy money in a horrible way. He takes his girlfriend along with him on this amoral journey. This leads to tragedy and, ultimately, redemption.

The Review
I want to start off by saying that this is kind of a misunderstood movie. I think you might disagree and I might even be wrong. This could be because I am good-hearted or stupid, but I don’t think Bennie is a bad man. There are many things that make me come to that conclusion. To get back on subject I really love everything about this movie. From a critical standpoint the film has some of the greatest cinematography from the decade of the 70s (the dinosaur age, right). There are weird sights, with mountains, run down Mexican villages and dirty bars – some of it is dream-like and surreal, some of it is extremly beautiful. The score by Sam Peckinpah alumini Jerry Fielding is haunting and damn elegant. The storytelling is smart and subtle. In the film you can see every crime movie that followed from 1974 and on. There is also one other thing nobody appreciates: bare-bones story telling. This fuels the gritty and nihilistic style. The movie is pure Peckinpah adrenaline charged, with a great story and great characters. It’s highly original and just really damn good. The coolness of Bennie is also notable: for example, he never takes off his sunglasses, even when he goes to sleep. The one point in the movie that made me come to the conclusion that Bennie is not ultimately a bad man is at the critical moment when he is able to behead Garcia’s unearthed corpse, he doesn’t do it. He does get knocked out but the film suggests that he would not have completed the action, and that the reason he has no luck is because he wouldn’t do such things before now. He tries to persuade himself to cross this un-crossable line throughout the entire first portion of the movie, and fails. This, in conclusion, is about moral redemption.

The Conclusion
Before I go I want to mention the stellar acting of all of the cast. Warren Oates gives the best performance of his career. He adds a touching depth and love to the character, while Helmunt Dante and Gig Young add a psychotic depth to theirs, as two sinister bounty hunters/hit men. The thing I want to mention the most is the two actors: Emilo Fenandez (who was in nearly all of Peckinpah’s movies) and Isela Vega. They both give great performances as supporting characters, important in their own right as well. The Direction is professional with great talent and ability. Sam Peckinpah was a brilliant genius. The writing however is better. The old expression “emotions speak louder than words” applies in two ways: the thick, cultured dialogue speaks for emotions the way Shakespeare does and the emotions speak for words. It is a brilliant movie, and I can’t recommend it enough. For the closing sentence I will use a quote from Bennie: “Nobody Loses all the Time”.