A stellar performance from Jack Nicholson as an angry young man in search for something better. A great example of learning more about a character over the course of the entire film, little facts are given about Nicholson's Bobby Dupea, yet they are scattered through the whole story. A great example of early New Hollywood cinema.
It is perhaps a more in depth version of "Rebel without a cause" where the growth and the burden of the parents in the 50's overshadow their children need to breathe. This is just a need to breathe, a beat feeling to not be phoney as the woman in the intelectual conversation, full of emptiness. He seeks something real but his girl just reminds him of his thwarted chances. Very nice film!! Very good acting!
Easy Rider may have kick-started Nicholson's career but Rafelson's poignant road movie - the study of an intelligent man stranded in the no man's land between blue-collar America and his bourgeois and cultured musical family - is the film which launched him as THE major actor of the early-to-mid-'70's. Jack's screen persona-defining role comes in one of the finest works of its day: a major triumph for all concerned..
Screenplay writers are rarely appreciated by cineastes; the directors often hog their glory. One brilliant screenplay is Carole Eastman's work on Bob Rafelson's "Five Easy Pieces" (1970)--a film that never won an Oscar though it was nominated for several. My full review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.in/2013/11/154-us-director-bob-rafelsons-five-easy.html
70s as fuck. Nicholson's performance is widely praised (his best imo along with About Schmidt) but Rafelson's direction should be noted. I love that long pan over the old photos that tells you everything about the lineage of his family and how they are deeply rooted in the erudite intellectual class. And boy howdy: that ending!
The soundtrack is the only flaw of this film. It's less creative than the performance, cinematography, and editing. The audible synchronized ambiance sound was completely unnecessary. This is a character film, an impressionist one where the vision and the audio comes from the character. It only worked well once at the last scene at the gas station. Maybe it was something the makers didn't work on enough. 3 stars.