Hellman films the idea of the road a timeless flat plane of existence an endless horizon a freedom that is separate from society and the settled civilization a freedom outside of the body and the mind the freedom of the wind the film is basically an endless race without a destination and ends with a retelling of Icarus where man is engulfed in a void of ultimate meaningless.
They don’t make’em like they used to – cars and racing movies. Cool, edgy, powerful; detached yet somehow very true. It’s a race of two young guys in an old car on “a masculine power trip” –as The Girl puts it- against an old(er) guy in a flashy new car, the great pathological liar whose only moment of truth is interrupted by a cruel “I don’t wanna hear about it”. Let’s just race: a simple story but with many layers.
Empty, cold-hearted people with desolate lives, chasing each other across the highways. Bresson goes to America, perhaps, but it feels like a waste when the great Warren Oates is not onscreen. Richard Linklater: "Because there was once a god who walked the Earth named Warren Oates." 3.5*
A thought I had during this film: It seems to me that in all car movies (insofar as that is a coherent genre), cars functions as extensions of the body. I feel like there is inherently radical potential in that idea. I'm not convinced that this film fully acts on that potential, but it doesn't really have to. Really the best of its genre that I have seen. Echoes of Easy Rider, but lest insular and more populist.