more complex than i remembered. the car chase is the highlight of the film, though the visual nature of the film was also a joy. so much in the film is shown, not said. when mcqueen has his girlfriend drive him to a crime scene she walks in and sees the dead body. she looks at him and he sees her looking at the body so he walks between the camera (representing the dad body’s pov) and her to shield her from the sight. the next shot is of him driving her car. the sequence shows the emotions of the characters without crying or talking or anything else.
the toll that the job takes on bullitt himself is also conveyed visually and otherwise. the film is about a lot of different things and it keeps you thinking – about the plot, the characters, etc. the film was made only a year after in the heat of the night yet i’ve never heard anyone mention the black doctor who plays a minor role in the film. it’s easy to overlook now, but that was probably fairly progressive to just drop a black guy in the role of a doctor. there is a scene where robert vaughn asks for the doctor to be replaced citing “inexperience,” but we know what the real reason is. in this way, and many others, the film is as much a marker of the time as it is an entertaining and engaging film. it’s very much about the common people – the cabbie (robert duvall), the aforementioned doctor, the nurses, the onlookers at the airport in the final scene, etc.