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The Sugarland Express 1974
PG

  • Steven Spielberg
  • April 5, 1974
  • 110 mins
  • English
  • Action, Crime, Drama
Every cop in the state was after her. Everybody else was behind her.
Married small-time crooks Lou-Jean and Clovis Poplin lose their baby to the state of Texas and resolve to do whatever it takes to get him back. Lou-Jean gets Clovis out of jail, and the two steal their son from his foster home, in addition to taking a highway patrolman hostage. As a massive dragnet starts to pursue them across Texas, the couple become unlikely folk heroes and even start to bond with the captive policeman.

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One of Spielberg's early efforts and it is fair to say that this is also not one of his strongest. Whilst Spielberg manages to build some tension in the first half as the situation escalates, this gives way to a uneven tone that ensures the stakes are rarely felt or convincing. It doesn't help that the two central characters are poorly developed and difficult to care about, making their quest equally uninvolving. It doesn't outstay its welcome and there are some nice moments throughout, but its the connection with the characters that is sorely lacking and a central mistake to this film that Spielberg rarely made again.

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