Tags

, , ,

Northfield

Philip Kaufman’s The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid tells the story of the Younger-James Gang and their ill-fated raid on a Minnesota bank in 1876. But its real purpose is to retell an outlaw tale for the hippie era. In this retelling, Cliff Robertson is the cool fun Cole Younger, in a role that might have been played by Burt Reynolds or Kris Kristoffesron, who loves women and a good time and a good scam. He leads the gang but an apocalyptic Jesse James played by Robert Duvall is challenging his leadership. I couldn’t help but think of MASH when watching this. Both took masculine genres and turned them on their heads. Both had a ridiculous anarchic sports scene, in this case an early baseball scene. In both, an intense Robert Duvall could play for comic affect, and in both cases with a seriousness that belied his own absurdity. Chasing the gang is the Pinkertons, but they are played with the bumbling ineptness of so many law enforcement and authority figures in films of the era. By the time they arrive in Northfield, not only is the deed done but the figures are caught and there is no glory left for them. All in all, this is an acceptable film in the stoned hippie genre.

5/10

Advertisements