5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Several people have reviewed this film from an "artsy" standpoint. It wasn't widely released when it first came out, and it was eventually considered as an "art house" movie in more recent years, enjoying a limited release in west coast movie houses that tended to cater to foreign and limited release films.
If you want a more technical review, which justifiably compliments the director, actors, story line, etc., then please read some of the other reviews that have been posted. In my opinion, it was a good and rather unique movie, and that is how I will review it.
I grew up in the 1960s, and I watched young men get drafted and then disappear into the abyss of the Vietnam war. As high school graduation approached, I watched the males in the classes ahead of me become increasingly concerned as their time for being drafted rapidly approached. Many of them knew that Vietnam would be a one-way ticket, where they would stand a good chance of returning either broken in body or mind, if they returned at all. Even for the most patriotic, the rapidly approaching reality of the draft began to consume them, whether they were in high school or graduating from college, and they knew that they were going to experience a life-changing event which they probably didn't want, leaving all their friends, family, and their entire life, behind.
The movie captures this sense of desolation in the face of inevitability. The main character has been drafted and only has few days before he will leave everything he knows, behind. He clings to his beloved car (which gets reposessed) as the only constant in his life. Meanwhile, everyone around him acts as if nothing is going to happen to him. His girlfriend pressures him to get married, his friends lend him money expecting that he'll be around to pay him back.
And then he meets a woman who works in a "Model Shop," where men pay to take picture of them in various states of undress (lewd for the time). In a sense, she's already in her own version of Vietnam - stuck in a country (the USA) where she doesn't quite belong, doing things she doesn't want to do, constantly trying to get back home to her beloved France. The two of them connect for a short period of time and talk about running away together, but neither belongs in the other's world. In the end, the main character finally loses his beloved car (which he would never have physically fit in if the covertible top had been up) and leaves for Vietnam, but he also leaves money for the woman so she can get out of her own "vietnam" and return to her beloved France.
The photography (particularly now that it has been restored to its original brightness) is reminiscent of the 1960s, when color film use became widespread. The colors are sharp - sharper and more intense, in some ways, than they are today, since color was a selling point back in those days, and film makers made it a point to stick with bright, sharp primary sorts of colors (no pastels or plaid, here). It is more of a psychological film - there are no car chases, fights, or explosions, just the endless monotony of an oil pump which is almost another character - churning in the background, and the most action occurs when the main character speeds up and down and around the curving city roads seeming to not care if he does crash, because that would end it all before the real horror started.
But I always liked the movie because it was different. It showed a side of the 1960s that many men went through due to the draft. And the movie itself was excellently photographed and a work of art in itself. I highly recommend it.