Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Out of the Blue

(Dennis Hopper, 1980)
Hopper's CFDC-facilitated return to the director's chair caps his lost decade with a production that could have been called "The Lost Movie" - protagonists and nemeses alike struggle, fail, fuck up, give up, die. While the sleaze will definitely be suffocating to some, it's incredible how much compassion Hopper musters for these wasteoids, most of all his own dangerously careening drunk; without sacrificing humour or irony, the man puts all the pain and longing he's got inside him into one hell of a performance. Fellow showbiz survivor Sharon Farrell gives him a run for his money as his shattered wife, especially toward the end, and they're not even the central figures here - they're just something for Linda Manz's Cebe to rebel against. As cold as the oldsters are hot, this disagreeable, Elvis-worshipping punk rocker is Hopper's vision of youth rebellion as unstoppable, eternal primal force, embodying the impulse to freedom that can find no outlet in this desperate vision of the world. Kissing off Raymond Burr's moral interventions in no uncertain terms, Manz ultimately cuts the gordian knot, and this absolute rejection is actually a message of solidarity across generations, an aesthetic salute from a man who knew a thing or two about constructive negation.

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