Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Blu-ray Review
What’s it about? While a young man called Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) steals a car, an assassin attempts to shoot a preacher called Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood). As Thunderbolt runs away, Lightfoot, who happens to be driving by, rescues him almost by accident. After a while, Thunderbolt explains that the assassin is trying to kill him regarding a bank robbery that occurred seven years before. After playing cat and mouse for a few days, they all join forces for one final robbery.
Verdict? As with all cult films, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is likely to divide the audience. Those who lived and enjoyed films from the 70s will probably find it terrific and brilliant, perhaps driven by nostalgia. On the other hand, new audiences, used to a faster MTV-like cutting and pace might get bored and lose interest with the almost episodic structure of the film. But there’s another type of audience of viewers who appreciate and enjoy films of any pace, time or genre. The most authentic film lovers will find Michael Cimino’s script funny and dramatic at the same time despite the fact that it hasn’t aged very well.
Cimino -who also debuted as a feature director with this flick- wrote a screenplay that starts somewhere between the buddy movie and the road movie, only to turn midway through into a bank heist film. But as good as some scenes might be, one can’t help the feeling that both Bridges and Eastwood carry the weight of the whole movie on their shoulders. The film wouldn’t have worked if it hadn’t been for the terrific performances delivered by the two protagonists. While Eastwood’s body language and eyes tells you everything you need to know about his character, Bridges almost steals the show with his charisma and his deep voice, not to mention his characteristic crazy laughing. And the chemistry between these two is what makes Thunderbolt and Lightfoot entertaining and fun.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is almost like the director’s love letter to the American countryside. The film portrays a whole variety of wide long shots of roads, lakes, mountains… The landscape, along with the country soundtrack, will take you back to the 70s. If that is not enough, wait for that sense of violence, craziness and sex that only the sometimes-forgotten action classics can deliver. Examples of this 70s craziness are the moment when a girl shouts “rape” after having sex with Eastwood’s character, the “shooting bunnies scene” and some of the more extreme action bits.
Final words A cult classic that divides audiences. A trip back to the 70s with Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges delivering terrific performances on a film that hasn’t aged so well.