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THELMA AND LOUISE, 1991
Movie Review

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THELMA AND LOUISE MOVIE POSTERTHELMA AND LOUISE, 1991
Movie Reviews

directed by Ridley Scott
starring Thelma Louise, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Keitel, Brad Pitt, Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald, Stephen Tobolowsky
Review by Martyn Warren


SYNOPSIS:

An Arkansas waitress and a housewife shoot a rapist and take off in a '66 Thunderbird.

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OSCAR winner for Best Screenplay

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REVIEW:

Thelma and Louise (dir. Ridley Scott) was a great success when it was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1991 and continued to prove itself when it won a Writerís Guild of America award, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award, all for best screenplay. The filmís popularity over the years has even managed to get the film re-released in Germany on the 12th June 2003, as well as gaining $20,000,000 through rentals in America alone.

The filmís story starts with two best friends, the bored housewife Thelma (Geena Davis) and the hard working waitress Louise (Susan Sarandon), as they decide to go on a fun weekend road trip. What starts of as an innocent journey of two women having some fun away from home comes to a full stop, after Louise shoots rapist Harlan (Timothy Carhart) after he tries to force himself on Thelma at a small bar.

Local cop Hal (Harvey Keitel) is now on a mission to track them down to bring them into question about what happened on that particular night. Meanwhile, the two women decide to go to Mexico and encounter many scenarios and characters along the way. The audience also gets a chance to understand more about the two lead characters as they attempt to reach their goal before the police force does.

Since this is her first attempt at writing a feature film screenplay, Callie Khouri has done a brilliant job, especially when she worked with a director who has been highly well known in the film industry.

The characteristics between the two protagonists are done very interestingly throughout the filmís time length. Thelma is seen as the innocent person who is just looking to have some fun, while Louise is portrayed more as the protective mother figure over her best friend. Their characteristics change in the second half and Thelma is much more controlling than she was in the first half and is no longer seen as the innocent woman. Meanwhile Louise seems more emotional and she still keeps her cool, but now appears much in the same position as Thelma. Although itís great to see how the characters have changed, it was weird at first because it seemed so sudden and that issue seemed to change the more I thought about how much the entire film never lost any excitement throughout itís running time.

One of the main differences this film has compared with Ridley Scottís previous projects is that the main characters are both female and even though Alien (dir. Ridley Scott) featured a female character as the lead, Thelma and Louise has two female characters in a road trip story that would have previously only starred male actors. Ridley Scott hasnít made many films with the lead(s) being female, but he seems to like directing films with females being strong-minded and it is definitely seen throughout this film, with the main characters eventually coming to terms with their actions and rather then go to the police, they continue to have fun on the road since they know life would be better than if confronted by the police.

For a film that had an overall budget of $16,500,000, the crew under Ridley Scottís commandment have pulled their weight to make one of the best road trip films in Hollywoodís history.

The location managers for a start have chosen some very gorgeous landscapes, as well as some very ordinarily bleak buildings mainly used in the first half. While only a couple of scenes were filmed in Colorado, the two location managers had to each find some great places for the states they were assigned to and this part of the team deserve to be mentioned for finding some of the most stunning landscapes for American cinema.

Adrian Biddle, who was the director of photography, had previously worked on the cinematography for The Princess Bride (dir. Rob Reiner), Willow (dir. Ron Howard) and Aliens (dir. James Cameron). He has done a brilliant job at capturing the actors and actresses best performances and he used the well known camera set up that Ridley Scott likes to use called ĎVí set-up, where the camera person simple uses two cameras when two characters are communicating and this is the technique that got the two leads their award nominations.

One more person I would like to talk about in this review is Hans Zimmer, who composed the music for the film. The choice of music throughout the film was selected really well, with the first half of the film containing some country music, while the second half contains music that is full of suspense and energy. Since the filmís release, Zimmer has worked on some of the biggest mainstream films during the last few years and continues to make music for Ridley Scott.

My overall opinion of the film is that I think itís one of the best examples of showcasing strong female leads. The filmís narrative is one of the best I have seen about travels through an unknown America and for audiences, this is a real treat to discover or see a classic from the work of Ridley Scott.

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