Raising Arizona(Joel Coen) 1987 **** 5/1/2016

Nic Cage as Hi, a recidivist small town hick in the desert, proves to me finally that he can really act.  Holly Hunter is real good too, as Ed, the mugshot photographer who keeps having to take his picture as he serves small stints for holding up the local convenience store.  Third jail term’s the charm, and they marry.  Gloriously photographed Arizona deserts, blood red skies behind blood orange suns from Barry Sonnenfeld hold court over their early marital bliss.  It’s punctured, though!  Ed proves barren, and so they steal baby Nathan Jr.  Outrageous characters punctuate their term with the baby; two crook buddies of Hi’s broke out from jail(John Goodman & William Forsythe), a swarthy Harleybiker hunting Nathan Jr.(Randall Cobb, the biker) and the burning desert.  A banjo version of “Ode to Joy” caps both sides of the movie and a real good soundtrack.  Hi’s earnest searching in dream sequences scored by misty music gets cozy and touching fast.  That’s the secret of the movie; despite its ironic jokey flavour and crazy gags, it’s forthright and out-front about the touchy things.

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