What John Wick 4 Borrows From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

“John Wick: Chapter 4” is the culmination of all of the “John Wick” films that came before, following international assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) after he tries to retire and then gets back into the world of professional killing after some jerks kill his dog. The movies are action-packed and seriously intense, but Stahelski knew it was important for the audience to get a moment to breathe, something he learned from films like “Butch Cassidy”: 

“I’m a big fan of a lot of the ’70s films, and there was just a different pacing for that era, like with Butch and Sundance [in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”]. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But sometimes that slow build really helps. So how do you mix action with the slow build?”

It turns out that the best way to do that was to think of the pacing in the same way you might compose music, building in breaks for air and silence in order to make the constant action feel continuously compelling. Stahelski discussed the film with his friend, composer Tyler Bates, and recognized that the idea of music being defined by “the space in between notes” could be applied to action filmmaking as well. Sure, the big fight scenes are going to get the audience hyped up and out of their seats cheering, but the quiet moments are what holds it all together and makes the whole thing sing. 

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