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Thunderbolt & Lightfoot might just be the second best film in both Eastwood & Bridge's career. For Eastwood, I can't see anything excelling The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. As for Bridges, I think his pinnacle was in The Big Lebowski. But whatever - today we're discussing Thunderbolt & Lightfoot and it is a great great film.
Doherty (Eastwood), an ex con / bank robber is by fate, recklessly aided by Lightfoot (Bridges) helping Doherty make a sharp exit from his former criminal associates (played by G Kennedy & G Busey). All four characters are forced to overlook their pasts and differences, we see a transformation and are strung a long a brilliant story of classic-buddies-plotting-to-beat-the-impossible-odds. Michael Cimino (Director) immediately throws the story and the characters into quick pace. He litters the film with good looking sets, sweet colour and oddly placed obstacles - for instance, a deranged hick driving by with a boot full of white rabbits.
Maybe it was unintentional, but I think Cimino created one of the first films to really stage what we know as black-humour. 2 hours of tragic events, lined up one after the other underlined by stupidity and smart wit, of course we can not forget George Kennedy & Gary Busey's super assistance in supporting roles.
Jeff Bridges is a remarkable and funny actor in this film, his part reveals a warm and naïve handsome young fella, yet somehow edged with that wise-fool-20-something vision that provides infectious viewing, especially the line to Clint "I don't know want your money man. I want your friendship". Clint Eastwood, is as you expect - laidback, dry and completely handy. Nothing new, but nothing you'd want to take away from that screen presence or enigma he's carefully carved over the years.
Thunderbolt & Lightfoot was overlooked back in the day, United Artists must have been insane not to push, or help sparkle such a strong piece of golden nugget that was laid amongst so many other rough pebbles.
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