Bring Me The Head…
Of Alfredo Garcia
If you’re someone who listens to critics or reads up on film, then you might be aware of Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia. Often making “Worst Films of All Times” kind of lists, it’s one of those films that is a cultural oddity, the title pops up here and there, now and then, probably because it’s so unique, definitive and has “cvlt B-movie” written all over it. It’s a film that didn’t really make a big impact when it was released and copped a lot of shit both then and throughout the years since. Not that any of that really matters of course, because if you’re like me and you’ve seen and liked this film, then you’ll probably agree that it’s fucking awesome.
Made during a time when the big film studios were still taking chances on less mainstream, independent films that predated prototypical blockbusters like Jaws, Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is inexorably linked to its director. Sam Peckinpah, the mad genius behind The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, Cross of Iron, by many accounts, made the film during a time of great personal difficulty, stress and strong drink. If you watch the main character Benny’s journey throughout the film, it’s obvious that we’re watching Peckinpah. It’s a hot, sweaty, booze-soaked trek through Mexico in the mid-70s with a doomed love, an escape and a promise of reward, a way out of a miserable life through completely absurd and brutal means. All Benny has to do is find the head of Alfredo Garcia and bring it back to the some gangsters and he gets paid. Simple.
Mexico is the most essential part of the film. It’s another character. The language, the culture, the way of life, the cities, towns and countryside all combine to create a dreamlike, hazy void of endless tequila and easy, simple living where life has a price and it’s usually pretty cheap. Benny knows this and lives around it where he can, looking to score the next few bucks when he can.
This is the most “Tarantino” film Tarantino never made. The violence, the snappy dialogue, the plot and motivations, none of them would be out of place in one of his films. Sam Peckinpah is a shadow that looms large in the world of cinema and his gritty portrayal of violence is part of the appeal of this film, especially when you know that this is the kind of world that Benny operates in. It’s like the Wild West never ended, it just went south of the border and down Mexico way.