Again, another solid outing for Paul Newman. I can't wait to write my review for Pocket Money, simply because I didn't like it very much. But it's great to have such a positive vibe after watching the abysmal Tora! Tora! Tora!.
Now, I haven't seen Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. I actually know little about the Wild West, let alone the renegade Billy the Kid. But this really is an interesting story. Friend against friend when no one is really in the wrong. I imagine that the world has Hollywood-ized this initially tiny storyline, but who am I to complain? After all, it made an interesting event. Also, the whole theme of culpability among all branches of society, including law enforcement. A hell of a time.
Now, I may be rating this one higher than it really is. I would probably never put this as one of my favorite movies of all time. But it was really entertaining. A tiny movie really. It does feel like a low budget Hollywood venture, but plays out a lot fuller than it should. Maybe that's what really struck me about this. It was a much bigger spirited movie than it was set out to be. Sure, there's a ton of goofiness that really doesn't need to be there. You can see this in the Kid's posse, but Newman hits his mark perfectly. Probably the biggest fault that this movie had was a subplot involving Billy's illiteracy. Perhaps it was a social statement, but it wasn't necessary at all and really din't come to fruition. All it did was create a sense of embarassment to allow Paul Newman to chew the scenery a little more. But overall, a very solid film.
Finally, I'd like point out one shot in the movie to notice that I thought, at first, was really a failed moment but then proved to be one of the strongest choices by director Arthur Penn. There's a moment where a man running for his life looks into the sun, seeing the silhouette of the Kid out-of-focus. The scene comes into focus and the man realizes he is going to die. Really, you'd expect this kind of scene in a much classier film, but it landed in this one. Good for you, movie. Good. For. You.