Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Retro Review: RAISING ARIZONA (1987)

Welcome to another installment of RETRO REVIEW where we take a look at films made before the year 2000.  Today we review the 1987 Coen Brothers crime comedy, RAISING ARIZONA.  Enjoy!

Zany, and off the wall in all the best way's, The Coen Brothers sophomore film, Raising Arizona, established their niche, brilliant comedic style, and gave us some of the best one liners in comedy, such as "I'll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash you got", and side-splitting scenes such as John Goodman and William Forsythe's freak out in the car! And don't forget the outstanding chase scene, dubbed the 'Huggies Chase'.

That chase scene is directed so brilliantly, one would think it was directed by someone or some duo who had been around for years, but at this time, The Coen Brothers had only been around for a few years.  However, they had already established themselves as in demand filmmakers, and the 'Huggies Chase' scene must have proven to people that these guys were a force to be reckoned with. The scene is paced wonderfully, the action is extremely well done, the physical gags are hilarious and well timed, and Nic Cage and Holly Hunter are at their most brilliant.

Speaking of, Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter are a joy to watch. They have great chemistry with one another, and whilst Cage delivers the more outright comedic performance, with touches of drama, it is Hunter who does most of the heavy lifting when drama is concerned. But don't be mistaken, she is also a powerhouse in comedic acting, and she sells it here wonderfully...Oh, and whoever portrayed Nathan Jr...You and your cuteness stole the show!

The supporting cast is also very good, with John Goodman and William Forsythe delivering some great, funny moments, including my favourite moment, as I mentioned previously, and the cameo by Frances McDormand, both of which were excellent!

The camera work is brilliant, especially in the aforementioned 'Huggies Chase' scene, which is insanely funny, and the pre-title opening! Hats off to The Coen's direction of small-scale, but impactful action here, and Barry Sonnefeld for impressive cinematography. In a film where the camera is often moving rather fast, there is a surprising amount of memorable shots that really are quite stunning, particularly the scene where Goodman and Forsythe's character's are escaping from prison.

The dialogue is great, ranging from witty one liners, to poetic inner monologues. The film also turns out to be surprisingly heartfelt, and the score by Carter Burwell is snappy. It definitely complemented the pace, which is quite frantic, in a good way,

But there are a few flaws, one being the choice that Goodman and Forsythe's character's make, to take Nathan Jr. with them to the robbery. I mean...where did they come from? At first I thought they were gonna steal him from Ed and Hi, to take back to Nathan Arizona, to collect the $25,000 reward, but nope, they ended up loving him and not wanting to let him go. Albeit, my favourite scene in the film, with them freaking out in the car after losing Nathan Jr, stems from them taking him, and I loved all of the scenes with them and the baby, so I am happy The Coen's wrote it like this, but I would have liked a little more foundation built there.

And also, I am still torn over The Bounty Hunter character. I mean, he was very cool, and I loved the scene between him and Nathan Arizona, and I loved watching him tear up shop on his bike...But could Hi really see him in his dreams? How did he know how to track Goodman and Forsythe's character? Did I miss something there?

I loved Raising Arizona for it's self-aware silliness, but also for it's deeper layers. I thought the film turned out to be quite heartfelt, and I surprised myself by almost tearing up at the end, with Hi dreaming of his future still with Ed, watching Nathan Jr. from afar, grow into a prosperous man, and having children of their own, and their children having children etc. It was a beautiful ending.

So yeah, this movie is an eccentric sort of western that made me laugh a lot, and I already know this movie will have excellent replay value. I think any decent comedic film should have good replay value, so you can laugh again and again without the jokes or scenes becoming stale. But I suppose I'll have to wait and see, though I think I'm gonna love watching this movie forever, and for that reason, it is definitely an instant favorite of mine, and I have gained EVEN MORE respect, than I already had, for the brilliant Coen Brothers!

Sammy's Score: 9/10

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment