The fifth film in our Absurdist Action cycle is Michael Cimino's wonderful debut, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.
Special Guest: Daniel Malone from the great ‘You Talkin’ to Me?’ film podcast
Michael Cimino will forever be a mystery. He seemingly appeared out of nowhere with Thunderbolt and Lightfoot in 1974 after winning favor with Clint Eastwood by punching up the script for his Dirty Harry flick Magnum Force. Cimino followed up his debut with The Deer Hunter (1978), arguably a masterpiece. He then came crashing down with the infamous Heaven's Gate (1980), arguably another masterpiece that was saddled with a supernova budget and an anathematic critical response.
Within a single decade of working in Hollywood, Michael Cimino became a notorious and beguiling legend. Thunderbolt is a finely chiseled yet indecipherable clue to the persistent enigma of Cimino. Here the men are resolutely stoic yet desperate for connection, the landscape is brutal but intoxicatingly gorgeous, and America is both wide open and falling apart at the seams.
For our chaser film, we scope out The Hot Rock (1972), an ensemble heist movie that juggles folly, irony, and low stakes.