Sunday, July 10, 2011

Midnight Cowboy - Movie Review

Another classic from Sagar's collection. 'Midnight Cowboy' is an academy award winning move that won three awards - best picture, best director, and best adaptation of a screenplay. The screenplay was adapted from a novel of the same name. 'Midnight cowboy' released in 1969 also had the distinction of being the only X rated movie to have won an Academy award!.

Starring a young John Voight as Joe Buck, the naive country stud who comes to the city with dreams of becoming a hustler who takes care of the needs of rich women for money, and Dustin Hoffman as the crippled conman Enrico Rizzo Salvatore famously known as Ratso for his extremely low low level con jobs, 'Midnight Cowboy' takes these two unlikely characters who come together in their search for survival in a big city. Joe Buck thinks that the best way to trap rich, bored ladies who prefer the services of a young stud like him is to dress like a cowboy and so he dresses up like that and goes out in the streets. He does trap one old lady who uses his services to please herself but then borrows 20 dollars from him! That's how naive the cowboy hustler is.

He gets kicked out of the hotel for non payment of bills, loses his stuff and only has his cowboy clothes he has on him. Meanwhile he meets Ratso who tells him that what he needs is management to get his hustler act right and offers to set him up with a management service. He takes 20 dollars for his service and sets him up with a religious fanatic from whom Joe escapes narrowly. To get by each day and night, Joe Buck, now penniless, has to compromise and lets himself go out on a date with a gay young man who after seeking his pleasure, confesses that he has no money. In such times of desperation, Joe sees Ratso again, and shakes him out of all he has - some loose change. Ratso, a lonely man with a bad cough, tells Joe that he can stay with him in his soon to be demolished apartment. It is a terrible place but it is shelter.

Ratso and Joe try to get some money by all the means they know - hustling, picking pockets, stealing. But nothing works really and they are just barely surviving in the cold. Ratso's cough is getting worse. Joe finally strikes gold when a pair of whackos invite him to a crazy party where Joe finds a rich woman. Ratso strikes a deal for 20 dollars again. Satisfied with the performance of her young stud she recommends him to her friends and Joe appears to be finally on his way.

But Ratso falls really sick, is not able to get up and walk, and wants to go to Miami where he always wanted to go. Joe's next assignment is a few days later, they have no money for the trip, so Joe agrees to go with an old man for the money, robs him and takes Ratso out to Miami on a bus. On the way Joe decides to give up his hustling ways and take up a regular job and they both dream of a decent life together - both having no one else in their lives. Just as they reach Miamu, Ratso quietly dies in his seat. Joe holds the dead friend in his arms, as the trees of Miami flash by, losing the third person her really loved in his life, his grandmother who died, the one love of his life Crazy Annie who is in a mental institution and now Ratso.

Midnight Cowboy is a tender story of loneliness, hope, compromise and man's need for company and love. It is a theme that is interesting - pitting the stud and the cripple together - and the friendship they have because they have the same needs. It is disturbing, but it is life.

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