Two escapees (Robert Shaw and Malcolm McDowell) are on the run in an unspecified but seemingly Latin-American country. Everywhere they go they are observed and hounded by a menacing black ... See full summary »
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Two escapees (Robert Shaw and Malcolm McDowell) are on the run in an unspecified but seemingly Latin-American country. Everywhere they go they are observed and hounded by a menacing black helicopter. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <BC602070@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
This project was in the works for a long time before the film finally emerged. There were various changes of cast and director, and many writers, including James Mitchell and Stanley Mann, produced drafts of the script before Robert Shaw, who was also a novelist, agreed to do a final rewrite immediately before shooting was due to begin. Although he assured Joseph Losey that he would finish it before the first day of shooting, he did not, in fact, complete it until the end of filming, with changes being seemingly made almost every day. The film was a box-office failure and was mostly shown in Britain in a heavily-cut version, although television showings have been complete. See more »
Music by Julián Palanca See more »
Figures in a Landscape is the most peculiar film I've ever seen. I've seen a lot of peculiar films (The Keep, The Island, A Zed and Two Noughts, Eye of the Devil, etc.) but this one beats them all in terms of its curious nature.
It has almost no plot. What little plot there is details the efforts of two escaped convicts to evade a menacing black helicopter as they flee through the rugged landscape of some un-named South American country. Did they really commit a crime at all? Why does the chopper pilot want to catch them? Who are they? All these questions, so obvious and central to all the other films of this type, are left unasked and unanswered. This is purely a chase for the sake of a chase movie. Everything is left unexplained, and the immediate action is the only thing that is concentrated upon.
Given the existentialist angle that the film adopts, it is little surprise that it is unpopular.Many people feel cheated by the lack of explanation. I have a soft spot for the film, because it lets me decide for myself what is going on and what has gone before. I feel that Robert Shaw's performance is commanding, and the aerial photography is outstanding. However, I'm not saying that this is some kind of overlooked classic; nor even that it is an excellent film. It's just a wrongly panned film that has enough interesting features within its running time to make it commendable to anyone who has yet to see it.
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