Raising ArizonaFreudian substructure
Arizona is a slapstick fantasy about the eternal war between domesticity and savagery -- a suburbanized western that ends with a brawl between a man and his id. The marvelous post-fight close-up [when H.I. realizes he's pulled the grenade pin and, essentially, killed Leonard Smalls]-- one the finest moments in Cage's audaciously warm and silly performance -- confirms H.I.'s instinct for empathy, a quality that separates him from every other thug in the picture. He is really, truly sorry that his assailant, a vicious mercenary and a fellow human being, is about to die. But there's another type of sadness in this close-up -- subtle, inner-directed. It's as if he knows that in pulling the pin he has bid farewell to the most vibrant, prideful part of himself, and will have to find new ways to prove himself a man.
Christopher Orr