With the O’Neals, Bogdanovich trusts their own real life bumping up against the written word. And they know it too. And they and Bogdanovich know that the future is a mystery. Taking the time to look at their faces and wonder what else they’re thinking, or what is down the road or around a corner adds an extra visually potent unknowability about what will happen to these two.
Shooting in high-contrast black-and-white (and frequently in Wellesian deep focus), Kovacs creates vivid images that make the past seem startlingly, palpably alive. Bogdanovich’s direction is another feat of hyperrealism: the film features numerous long takes that contain both lots of dialogue and complicated blocking, these sequences all the more impressive given that one of the leads was only eight years old when the movie was made.