Picks and Pans Review: Thelma & Louise
Any movie that went as far out of its way to trash women as this female chauvinist sow of a film does to trash men would be universally, and justifiably, condemned.
Certainly far too many movies have demeaned women in far too many ways. But it's hard to think of one whose only reason for existing was to make all women look dishonest, dumb, untrustworthy, helpless, brutal, insensitive and/or generally inhuman.
Every male character in this film fits at least one of those adjectives, with the possible exception of a cop played by Harvey Keitel, who is most notable for his dereliction of duty. He is a state policeman who chases Sarandon and Davis after they have killed an attempted rapist; they not only run away in panic but rob a store at gunpoint, lock a highway patrolman in the trunk of his car in the middle of the desert and endanger many people's lives.
The movie portrays Sarandon and Davis as sympathetic. Davis is playing hooky from a cheating husband, while Sarandon has a sadly gullible boyfriend who tries to bail them out of trouble as they wander the Southwest. The music and the banter suggest a couple of good ole gals on a lark; the content suggests two self-absorbed, irresponsible, worthless people.
First-time screenwriter Callie Khouri mistakes cruelty for camaraderie and passes this kind of stuff off as snappy dialogue: "Idn't it beautiful?" "Sump'n else, all right." But she has some excuse for participating in the man-bashing, being a woman. Director Ridley (Alien) Scott comes across as a gender quisling.
The end result is to make Sarandon and Davis seem stupid and incapable of love. While the film strives ineptly for a Butch Cassidy feeling, the ending is especially embarrassing: The two stars, having decided that driving off a cliff into the Grand Canyon is better than facing a world with men in it, are caught in a midair freeze-frame. They seem gleeful, as if they are proud of having caused such headaches for their car-insurance company, but all they have accomplished is to put a mindless end to a mindless movie. (R)