MIDNIGHT COWBOY from @criterioncollection - 8/10
Uh, well sir, I ain't a f'real cowboy. But I am one helluva stud
First time watch. John Schlesinger’s 1970 Academy Award Best Picture winning MIDNIGHT COWBOY is one of a few American films to which the birth of the Hollywood New Wave of the 70s is accredited. With its preference for character and performance over plot, its deviation from linear narrative standards and its frankness in presenting taboo themes, MIDNIGHT COWBOY is a fantastic representative of the style of the best director-driven American movies of the decade
Jon Voight, in the role that made him famous, is John Buck - a Texas stud naively dreaming of making it big in New York City as a male escort to wealthy women. As the pressure of the big smoke, the isolation it brings, and his own stupidity start to weigh heavy on his shoulders he befriends Dustin Hoffman’s Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo, a nickel-and-dime con-man from the Bronx, and the two form an unlikely bond as grime and poverty threaten to bury them forever. As the duo’s situation becomes more perilous, the friendship between them becomes stronger and they scrape and claw for the opportunity to escape to their Floridian paradise
The reality presented in the movie is its most entertaining element and much of the praise must go to Voight and Hoffman who both put in excellent, committed performances as very difficult, often troubled characters. Voight’s starry-eyed cowboy is so effective because he can hint at loneliness and trauma in Joe Buck while presenting his energy and kindness in the same moments. Hoffman clearly does a great job with the physicality of Ratso, the accent the limp etc., but it’s the stutters in his delivery and the way he looks at Buck that makes the final scenes so heart-breaking. Schlesinger’s portrayal of seedy New York, although probably much less shocking today than in 1969, is still tangibly gritty and bleak and hopeless, with fascinating characters around every corner – an exaggerated view of the USA from an opinionated British-born director is a wonderful playground for this tragedy to play out in
Presentation on this disc is class. Loads of cool extras included!