Steve McQueen. 50 years on from his heyday and 30 years on from his passing, he is still branded as ‘The King of Cool’. Perhaps it was his rebellious nature or deeply troubled youth. Maybe it was an on-screen confidence displayed in successive anti-hero roles. No doubt a factor was his narrow escape from being killed by the Mason Family, having changed his plans last minute to not attend a dinner party where everyone else was later murdered. Whatever the case, its still working. Even though I missed his era, I agree that the petty criminal turned highest grossing film star of the 60’s was cool.
I’ve only seen one McQueen movie – Bullitt – so for good measure I streamed another – The Getaway. Its a classic 70’s chase film. The story of a recently released convict and his waiting wife robbing just one more bank but finding the plan running horribly off the rails is well-executed but with some caveats.
The first caveat is expected when an early 70’s film is re-mastered and viewed on HD, the FX is ridiculously staged and fake. The second is that despite the film being overwhelmingly entertaining, there were Grand Canyon sized plot holes in the early scenes leading up to the bank heist.
The good news is the acting, apart from the lifeless extras in the bank heist scenes, is good, particularly from McQueen who gives his characteristic tough-guy persona a good work out and hones a squinty-eyed look of determination that would rival Clint Eastwood’s. Chemistry between McQueen and Ali MacGraw, who would marry after the film, is palpable. To me this takes what would have been a Jason Statham action-fest and turned into a something much more personal.
Peckinpaw’s direction here is also good, giving accelerated multi-car chase scenes enough space and screen time to pump up adrenaline before transitioning into fiery personal conflict to top it off.
If you’re looking for a 70’s version of Bonnie & Clyde or you just missed this installation from the King Of Cool, The Getaway is a good watch.