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Customer Review

on March 8, 2005
They don't make 'em wilder than this.

"Prime Cut" is essentially the ancient fairy tale about the ogres preying on innocent maidens until the knight comes to town updated to a rural Kansas mob-war milieu. The chief ogre here is Mary Ann (not "Mother") a Great Plains gang leader played by Gene Hackman with the relish of a man who knows he may never see a role quite like this one again. His shaven-headed brother Weenie (Gregory Walcott) does things like run rival mobsters through meat-grinders and attack limos with pitchforks. The representative maiden is played by Sissy Spacek, back when she looked cute rather than merely odd. Lee Marvin plays the knight, flourishing a submachine gun while wearing a pricey 70s-style silver-gray suit.

None of which goes anywhere near far enough in relaying the serious strangeness of the thing. For that you need scenes like the one introducing Mary Ann tucking into a plate of beef guts ("I like 'em!"). Or the young gangster eagerly introducing boss Marvin to his mother. Or the shootout in a field of enormous sunflowers. Or Lee's visit to ex-mistress Clarabelle (I swear I'm not making up these names) who lives on a houseboat that looks as if it was designed by Christo collaborating with Heidi Fleiss. And I could go on.

Ritchie later made a number of innocuous comedies and Robert Redford vehicles of the "Downhill Racer" variety. But just once (the very late "Alleged Cheerleader-Murdering Texas Mom" being a partial exception), he got out of the cage and ran wild, and "Prime Cut" is the result. Compare it to Tarantino if you must, but if he or any of the other bravos has ever matched this, I haven't heard about it. "Prime Cut" is sui generis. They don't make 'em like this any more for the very simple reason that they never did in the first place. That's our loss.

...and oh yeah, I'll have mine well done.
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