It would be nice to make some snarky remark about Bandidas
representing the true history of the American Southwest or how it demonstrates how the West was really
won. However, that would make it sound like the type of dull, boring film that only a hardcore Chicano Studies major can love.
Instead, it seems far more cool to point to the scene in which Penelope Cruz stands on a horse while motioning it to get closer and closer to a wall she's trying to climb over. In short, a scene involving a cute girl on a horse. If that's not something with universal appeal, then I don't know what is. (Besides, this movie takes place in Mexico, not the American Southwest.)
Anyway, it doesn't hurt that the two stars of the movie -- Salma Hayek and Ms. Cruz -- are cast against type. Cruz, la infanta (princess) of Spanish cinema, is cast as a simple farm girl and Salma Hayek, the ultimate mexicana, is cast as an arrogant Spanish aristocrat. (If you know something about the perverse love-hate relationship Mexico has in regard to Spain, Ms. Hayek's role seems especially ironic.) The two of them join forces when Hayek's father is killed and Cruz's father is nearly killed, and eventually they start robbing banks.
Unfortunately, Steve Zahn comes along as a thinly disguised MacGyver
character whose chief purposes in the film seems to be (1) giving the two women someone to fight over, and (2) providing clues to the culprit who killed Hayek's father. (What? Hayek and Cruz's characters couldn't figure that out on their own?)
Zahn is not necessarily a bad addition to the cast, but he doesn't add as much as you would think. Nor does it help that the plot liberally borrows from other movies (Cat Ballou
, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
, etc.) without coming up with many original ideas of its own.
That final scene is cute though. No Thelma y Luisa
finale para Penny y Salma! And not just because they did not have automobiles back then.
Labels: Bandidas, México, Películas Latinas I, Películas Nuevas I, Penélope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Steve Zahn