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Shirley Anne Field
A week with Junior Bonner, a rodeo pro on the wrong side of 40, broke, bruised, and headed into Prescott, his home town, for the annual 4th of July Frontier Days. His dad, Ace, is a dissolute dreamer fixed on finding gold in Australia; his mom is resigned to Ace's roving; his brother Curly is tearing up the countryside to make a million in real estate. Junior just wants to stay on a bucking Brahma for eight seconds, hang out with Ace, find a way to spend time with a beautiful woman whose eyes catch his, and earn enough to get to next week's rodeo. As the old West and its code give way to progress, Junior is lonesome, laconic, and on the road - just where he wants to be. Written by
Steve McQueen is my favorite actor. Bullitt is my favorite McQueen movie, but Junior Bonner is my favorite McQueen character. McQueen, as usual (and this is what makes him great), communicates more with silence than in delivering a line. The violence of the rodeo is juxtaposed against one man's unwillingness to let go of a lifestyle that is obviously coming to an end. The open west is giving way to trailers, his parents are separating forever, and his home has become a place for strangers. Junior is aging as an athlete, and as a-no-longer- young man. Even his Cadillac is on the downward side of a once successful career. The split screens and slow motion are interesting without being intrusive. This movie is about the triumph of a man who stays true to his own values, regardless of how irrelevant his environment may soon become. One man CAN make a difference. Steve McQueen was always that one man.
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