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Review: Scarecrow

April 23, 2013

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


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BFI is known for introducing great new films to its audience again and again and Scarecrow, proclaimed to be an American classic is no different.

The plot of the film revolves around two men with different life-paths who become unlikely friends, after having a chance meeting. Both of them have dreams and life has dealt them similar blows but on this particular occasion, their philosophies are not the same. While on a road trip (something that has come to be a typical element in American coming-of-age films), the main protagonists get to know and learn from each other and while one of them ultimately becomes broken the other grows to be something more than the viewer might have thought possible at the beginning. It’s a tale of varying relationships where competitors turn into friends and the mighty impact a father and son bond has in one’s life.

This is a chance to see a very young Al Pacino and Gene Hackman in a film that shows, to create something that will have you laughing, hoping and feeling more emotion than you thought possible, there is no need to have flashy special effects of elaborate conversations and that much more can be said through meaningful silence. When trying to form a opinion about Scarecrow without taking into account the plot, it’s easy to see that Director, Jerry Schatzberg’s history in photography gave him an advantage while working on this film; he and the rest of the crew have taken great care to give viewers a chance to experience an elegant piece of cinematography and where there might not look like there is much, the end result of camera work, angles and track leads you to live in the same atmosphere as the people on the screen.

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Warner Bros. has created a new digital restoration of Scarecrow and this is a nice opportunity to go and see it for yourselves in brilliant colour, emphasising all of the little details that made it worthy of recognition even back when it was first premiered. In the end I enjoyed it and found myself wishing for a sequel, but for you the story of Max and Lion could turn out to be something for a cold, wet Sunday.

Katrina Cinite

Scarecrow is released this Friday, 26th April at the BFI and other selected cinemas.