Review: Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

garcia

Revenge, Mexican style, or Gringo style!

Screenplay By: Gordon T. Dawson & Sam Peckinpah
Directed By: Sam Peckinpah

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia starts out brutally, and then it spends some time in an area I didn’t feel was all that necessary. I shouldn’t say that, where it went was necessary, I just didn’t feel it was handled in a fashion I cared for. Essentially Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is two movies, pre-head and post-head. Post-head is much better than pre-head, but pre-head could have been much better with some tinkering.

The problem with the first half of Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is that it takes forever to set up the second half and it felt like it took it forever to get to the second half. I understand the need for the depth to the main character, the moments of quietness to counter the violence to come and the need for developing a connection to Bennie. But, the pacing was all over the place in the first half, it felt too expansive and too ponderous. Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is a look at violence and the lives of people so rough and against culture that we can’t hope to understand them. The film could have been much more economical in letting us find out what we need to know about Bennie and the rest of the troupe, but as is it feels like it meanders in place for too long.

Then comes the second half, a tour de force in violence and the attempts of one man to make a place for himself in the world even if it means he must die. Bennie just wants to be somebody, but after he first attempts to get the head he knows he can’t be somebody in any of the ways he ever imagined. What lay ahead for him is much bloodier and full of death. But for a man in his place and position in life that path is all that is left to him. So, he makes a stand as best he can and by doing so he becomes somebody in his own mind and that is all that matters to him.

I had a few problems with other aspects of Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia, such as the coincidental nature of it all, but nothing as large as the general direction of the first half. There was more that I liked about Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia than I didn’t like, most notably the frank use of violence and sleaze. Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia isn’t the hidden gem I have heard it talked up as, but it is a good movie that over the course of its running time becomes a satisfying movie watching experience.

Rating:

***

Cheers,
Bill

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