My return to the Romance and Melodrama section of the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book brings me this Ridley Scott classic from the early nineties that pairs Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in an all-star extravaganza that details the adventures of a pair of best friends as they plan a bit of a getaway.
Thelma (Davis) is a put upon housewife, married to an unappreciative, angry husband, Darryl (Christopher MacDonald). Louise is a hardworking waitress who is having problems with her boyfriend, Jimmy (Michael Madsen)., The pair of them just want to have a weekend away and lots of fun.
Unfortunately things go sideways after an attempted rape, and they soon find themselves the subjects of a police manhunt.
Scott, always a masterful technical director creates a fantastic film that lets Davis and Sarandon shine. The both turn in exceptional performances in a film that took home an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Their characters are perfectly defined and brought to realistic life, Louise is straight-laced and organised, while Thelma is a little looser and naive, but both are pushed outside of their comfort zone by one night at a bar.
The supporting cast includes Harvey Keitel as the cop pursuing them, Timothy Carhart, Stephen Tobolowsky, and an early performance by Brad Pitt. Accompanied by an exceptional score by Hans Zimmer, the result is a visceral, taut film that takes us to an iconic climax that seems inescapable once things begin to happen.
I love the way the characters are written, from the leads through to the supporting, everyone behaves as you would expect them to, and there are a number of layers revealed in each of them.
Scott’s technical work is on display, especially as the film draws on its climax, and the beautiful landscapes fill the screen as the final chase sequence kicks into high gear.
Filled with stunning imagery, and well-crafted character moments, the film has stood the test of time, and, it could be argued, become stronger with the passage of time. Friendship, justice, and the treatment of women all play a role in this film, and remain a poignant reminder of where we remain as society.
I fantastically entertaining film that lets the chemistry, and talent, of Sarandon and Davis blaze across the screen. A great film, a perfect ending, and a film that can not only entertain, but like classic cinema, create a dialogue about the subject matter, and the motivations behind it.
Scott remains one of my favourite directors, and films like this show why.