Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Screen 4 articles

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

1974

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Poster
  • [Cimino] showcases an innate ability for reflecting subtext in form. The film doesn't turn a blind eye to the passage of time and its attendant changes, yet it never undermines the expansiveness of its visuals. As with John Ford, Cimino in his prime had an uncanny ability to make location backdrops an extension of characters' internal thoughts and thematic conflicts, as well as a projection of their mythic force of will.

  • With its emblematic gender-fluid coupling of manly Eastwood and dandy Jeff Bridges (the latter dressed in drag at one point), thrown together by fate for a roughshod road trip through the American heartland. It's in his directorial debut that Cimino first fully reveals an eye for pretty men and their gruff companions, both ostensibly "straight," though each clearly pining for the other.

  • A wryly funny, strangely sweet road movie built around the chance partnership of a greenhorn crook and an old hand (Bridges and Eastwood, respectively) looking for a big score, it has a real feel for the contemporary west—Cimino would always favor Albert Bierstadtesque landscapes fringed with whitecap mountains—and the ceremonies of masculine ribbing.

  • The film’s images are filled with a pointillistic profusion of detail... that’s as alluring as it is nerve-jangling. Cimino’s wide-open West is a wonder and a snare, blending freedom and cruelty, innocence and ignorance; its expanses seem blood-soaked and death-haunted. With its mix of spectacle and intimacy, exuberance and tragedy, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” points ahead to the radical extremes of Cimino’s 1980 masterwork, “Heaven’s Gate.”

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