AFI Top 100: No. 43 Midnight Cowboy

It was apparent from the beginning that Midnight Cowboy was ahead of its time in many ways. Something tells me a that most movies of its time opted to not focus on the dark side of New York and prostitution, male or female, was not a common theme. Midnight Cowboy tackled these issues in a strangely touching way.

Dustin Hoffman’s performance of Ratso is one of the world’s best. He’s sneaky like a rat, street smart, yet has a naiveness to him like a child. He has made it this far by himself but realizes he needs someone to take care. To an extent he is pathetic but at the same time admirable in the fact he has survived in his condition as long as he could. The limp, the insecure look in his eye, the fear in his voice, was perfected by Hoffman. It is disappointing he did not bring home an Academy Award for this role.

The storyline was interesting. I liked the relationship formed between the pair and appreciated Joe’s flashbacks to give him a bit of background. I thought a few things seemed out of place, such as the Warhol party, something tells me they wouldn’t have actually been invited to such a festivity. I also thought the brutality Joe showed while roughing up the man in the closet at the end was odd. I couldn’t tell if it was a sign that he was past being the innocent boy from Texas or if it was truly out of character. I mean, Joe couldn’t even take a watch from the teen who didn’t pay him. One last point I want to mention is that I found it interesting that despite all Joe had been through, he still refused to resort back to being a dishwasher. Overall this was a great movie and one I would recommend.

Next Up: Bonnie and Clyde

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