A couple of weeks ago, one of the blogs I read mentioned this film (not the Ace of Spade HQ movie thread which mentioned Clint Eastwood only this weekend). Sorry, but I read so many blogs that if I don’t post on something right away and instead, if it sticks a little nugget in my brain triggering a thought days later, it’s lost in the torrents of time. So sorry for no hat tip, other blogger. But when I saw you mention it, when it came time for a film at Nogglestead, I tried to tempt a young man to watch a film with me, offering Who Framed Roger Rabbit? or Fast and Furious, but when the boy demurred, I settled on this film which I bought sometime in antiquity. I know that not because it’s a videocassette–I buy them all the time inexpensively–but because it was in the movie cabinet and not atop it.
So I watched it.
The story details how two convicts, Kevin Costner and the other guy, break out of a Texas prison and go on the run. They end up with a hostage, a boy whose home the other guy invades instead of stealing a car, and Costner prevents the fellow from raping the mother before they get away. The boy and the fugitive bond a bit as the boy’s family is strict and the fugitive was abandoned at a young age, and he grew up in bordellos but did not grow up to be Brahms. Clint Eastwood leads a Texas state team of law enforcement in pursuit in a new mobile command trailer that has all the latest gear–and steaks and tots in the freezer. So we see the fugitive and the boy bond, but although we get some sympathy for the fugitive, he eventually goes a bit off the rails and is stopped when the boy defends another father from the fugitive. Which leads to a long climax/denouement and ending. And a closing that matches the opening shot which frames the whole thing for some reason.
So I guess the deeper story is the fugitive bonding with the boy, making some of the same mistakes he would have expected his father to make (trysting with a waitress at a roadhouse, for example, telling the boy to wait in the car) to his trying to rectify his father’s sins (making a father tell his son that he loves him presumably before the fugitive before the he is setting up to kill the father). But it doesn’t work for me, maybe because I’m a father busy making different mistakes than my own father (he was the type to tryst with waitresses), and I don’t have to project or empathize with the fugitive as much as many men without fathers might.
At any rate, not a bad film, but probably not something I’ll rewatch unless I’m on a complete Clint Eastwood retrospective. Which might happen in the next thirty years.