Thursday, 17 December 2009

[277] Easy Rider (1969) Blu-ray Review

Easy Rider is one of my favourite films. It is one of those great confluences of cinematic art and popular culture, with such a rich backstory in terms of its countercultural leanings and its production anecdotes. I've written about it at great length before, in an essay I wrote back in Birmingham on the American counterculture of the 1960s, but I was glad to have the chance to write a more straight-up essay/review for Den of Geek. This is also my first Blu-ray review; I'm not sure I'll be doing many in the future, though, because my audio-visual set-up just isn't up to the task.

A friend of mine once called Easy Rider 'the most random film ever'; that is not a very good assessment. It is one of those early landmarks in what is called the New Hollywood movement in American cinema from the late 1960s onwards which have been superseded by more accomplished, accessible and - importantly - popular films from the 1970s. Nevertheless, it retains an integral place in the history of the art form, and its ambitions, intentions and perspective still ring true to the present day.

Case in point: with Easy Rider, the lunatics were in control of the asylum. Essentially a low-budget, independent style project, erstwhile actors Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, acting as director and producer respectively, developed the film with the funding of Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson, the young industry boffins that had made big bucks by smuggling the counterculture into the mainstream with The Monkees. The two were given creative freedom to work on their idea: a motorcycle road movie with two enigmatic modern-day cowboys surveying post-Kennedy America.

Read the full article here.

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