Review: Easy Rider

Director: Dennis Hopper
Year: 1969
Score: 9/10

Bold, brilliant, and like nothing that came before it. I was hooked from the moment Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to be Wild’ kicked off, the first of many excellent songs on the soundtrack to accompany the mesmerising visuals of roads and landscapes. It’s about counterculture and drugs and authority and the great gulf within (or on the margins of) American society; but most of all, it’s about America itself at the tail end of the ’60s. It has moments of incredible clarity, deep sadness, overwhelming joy, and utter confusion, yet somehow it remains tight and cohesive. As far as acting goes, Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson are perfect, and Dennis Hopper is quite good too; but Hopper’s real strength here lies in his innovative yet assured direction. Easy Rider is iconic for very good reasons, not least of which is its role in starting the ‘New Hollywood’ movement that completely transformed cinema and made it what it is today, but what’s striking is how well it holds up as a piece of thought-provoking entertainment. Highly recommended to anyone who hasn’t seen it; I sincerely regret waiting as long as I did to check it out.

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