- Take note of details of the story as it moves forward. Who are the three main characters? What we know about each one?
- Everett McGill is cleaver, sharp minded, witted and sarcastic. From the beginning of the movie we learn that his main motive to escape was to hurry to retrieve the hidden treasure – 1.2 million dollars that he received after robbing an armored car. However, later we learn that the main reason for his escape was to try to stop his ex-wife’s wedding. He loves his family and wants to be with them, so he told his inmates a story about the treasure so that they will go with him.
- Pete, Everett’s inmate, who was chained together, therefore, escapes too. He looks forward to the time they will find the treasure and he will be working at the fine restaurant. He is a simpleminded, but he is loyal and passionate. Later during the movie, when he learns there is no treasure, he confesses that he had only two weeks left to serve, and then he would be released. Now, having escaped, he would have to serve until he is 84. He is devastated, however, he does not hesitate to join on the dangerous mission of freeing Tommy from the hands of Ku Klux Klan, that is about to execute him.
- Delmar is very compliant and naïve. He is elated to get baptizes and saved; he also truly believes sirens turned Pete into a frog. His dream is to claim back the family farm.
2. What are the facts we learn in the exposition of the film?
As the movie progresses Everett fills gaps of the information missing. Also, the importance of spirituality is a red thread that goes through the whole movie.
3. Does the story use flashbacks? Does time pass more rapidly than screen time?
There are no flashbacks in the story. We learn about character’s past as the story unfolds, through their conversations. The story progresses steadily and an event takes place on the screen. Everything that happens to characters the viewer can see on the screen, so there are not much need for flashbacks.
4. Some characters are not truthful – how does the three men deal with people betray them. Should they have been able to see that these people would double-cross them?
First, Pete’s cousin betrays them, and then Big Dan lures them into the wild and violently beats them. Both times fugitives are not aware that something is about to happen and that they are to be betrayed. However, they do not seek revenge, they are single minded in pursuing their goal of finding the treasure. Maybe, because of their naivety they do not foresee troubles coming, although, before they were betrayed by Pete’s cousin, Everett stole the watch. When he was explaining Pete why he did that, he stated he “borrowed” the watch just in case. Whether the explanation is true – is left up to the viewer to consider.
In the account with Big Dan Everett seems to be so oblivious to what’s going on, that even after the beating had begun; he does nothing to stand against the violence and thinks it is only a show.
5. What scene do you think is the climax of the film? Why?
It seems the film reaches its climax when the band sings at Everett wife’s wedding, but I think real peak of the movie is the scene when four men are about to be hung, and Everett earnestly prays to God asking for deliverance. The unexpected answer to the prayer comes, although Everett is too proud to admit the obvious miracle. They also see the cow on the roof, just like the old black man foretold them.
6. What is denouement of the film? Do we know what happens to each character at the end of the film?
The film leaves viewers in suspense about what happened to the men after their adventure. We only know that Everett is reunited with his family and fugitives are pardoned. Their future is untold in any way.
The Narration of the film goes as the story unfolds, and the viewer can see what is happening and why without any additional source of narration. Sometime Everett provides the narration, explaining what is going on. Other times explanation comes from other characters. Just like in the classical style, the goal of men’s journey is set, and it is confirmed by the blind man prophesying to them. Then, the movie goes into details of how the goal is reached, keeping Everett in focus. The storyline is deviates only slightly to show what happened to Pete when he got separated from his inmates.
To create realistic view characters do not look straight in the camera. They look at each other, or the viewer showed what they are looking at. Narration through characters always provided where something important has to be pointed out. For example, when the new lake is created, the camera zooms onto an important detail – a cow on the roof. Then, men ask Tommy what he is holding onto, which is the desk, where the ring Everett wanted to get was.
The progression of the movie is logical, although it always keep the viewer in suspense. There are no unexplained issues left, with only suspense left as to the future of Pete, Tommy, Delmar and Everett. Although the suggestion is made they are to become famous singing band.