Henry Moon is captured for a capital offense by a posse when his horse quits while trying to escape to Mexico. He finds that there is a post-Civil War law in the small town that any single ...
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Henry Moon is captured for a capital offense by a posse when his horse quits while trying to escape to Mexico. He finds that there is a post-Civil War law in the small town that any single or widowed woman can save him from the gallows by marrying him. Julia Tate needs a man to help her work her mine and marries him. The sheriff makes it very clear to Moon what the consequences of his leaving Julia will be. The two begin to try to form a relationship based on necessity in which they have nothing in common. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
"Goin' South" is a watchable comedy directed by and starring Jack Nicholson. Filmed cheaply with a local crew down in Mexico, the film wasn't received well upon release. "Star Wars" had rendered westerns obsolete and screwball comedies were long out of date.
Still, "Goin' South" holds up pretty well. Nichsolson's performance is amazing and cinematographer Néstor Almendros equals his work on Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven".
The film works more as a bizarre insight into Jack Nicholson, than a comedy. He turns what should be light slapstick, into a pretty nasty and mean spirited R rated comedy-drama. Watching his filmography from end to end, I'm surprised how consistently wicked and misogynistic his characters are. Here he players an outlaw who's hired by a sexually repressed woman to work in her gold mines. After tying her to a bed and giving her the hump of her life, she renounces her repressed ways and gradually begins to appreciate his animalistic masculinity.
The Jack Nicholson persona seems to constantly be seeking to dominate women. If he can't have his way, he breaks down. "Goin South" is like a happy version of his "Carnal Knowledge", only here he finally gets a girl who submits to his primal charm.
In terms of comedy, the film is similar in tone to the Coen Brothers' "O Brother Where Art Thou?" It's not as visually stylish, but the emphasis on wacky accents is the same. The cast includes Danny Devito, John Belushi and Christopher Lloyd, and many other comic faces pop up.
But it's Jack Nicholson's face that keeps us watching. He's manic, cartoonish, sadistic and riveting. Take a look at the IMDb photo of this film (the DVD cover). The guy looks like a bearded Saddam Hussein, laughing at his hang man's noose like a psychopath. Nicholson's face is a work of art. His eyebrows are constantly twitching, his eyes constantly mischievous, his teeth lighting up his face. Whether you enjoy the film will depend on whether you love his scenery chewing. He puts so much energy and skill into his performance here that he transcends everything else about this film.
6/10- Worth one viewing. I recommend fast forwarding all the exposition and simply watching Jack act. The guy's a pleasure to watch.
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