Easy Rider - 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray] Dennis Hopper

Easy Rider - 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray] Dennis Hopper
Easy Rider is one of the most important films ever made in America. Released in 1969, it was the first movie to truly tap into the counterculture movement. Slang, drugs and rock'n'roll made it onto the screen in a way that had never been seen before, and the cinematic style combined American populism with European art house. Easy Rider was a watershed movie that kicked off the director-driven artistic boom that defined Hollywood filmmaking in the '70s. The film's place in history is assured, even if it plays more like a charming time capsule now than the masterpiece it was perceived to be at the time. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda (who also wrote the script together) star as a pair of bikers who score a massive drug deal and ride across the country on their motorcycles to retirement. Along the way they're chastised for their longhaired, drug-taking ways by Southern stereotypes and convert a few locals to their team (most notably Jack Nicholson, in his first great performance as an alcoholic lawyer) before being killed by a pair of shotgun-wielding hicks. That's pretty well all that happens and while much of the story plays as an allegory for the death of '60s idealism, there's no denying that the movie feels a little slight. The truths that director Dennis Hopper wanted to depict are only enlightening when viewed in a drug-induced haze. At the time, that's the audience it played to and the movie was embraced. Now, watching the film can feel a little bit like being the only sober person at a party: everyone else is fascinated by what they're doing but from the outside, it just seems like nonsense. Of course, the movie is still fun and filled with a killer soundtrack and some damn entertaining performances. Laszlo Kovacs' gorgeous cinematography shines in high definition and all the travelling landscape shots are perfect for Blu-Ray. The special features prove to be more interesting than the film itself, with a documentary in which everyone remembers the drug-fuelled shoot differently (although they all admit it was a party) and a sober commentary by Dennis Hopper that hilariously ignores all the production woes he caused at the time. Viewed decades later, Easy Rider feels more like a movie that captured a time and place than it does an enduring masterpiece. However, if you can put together the right combination of narcotics that Hopper and his merry band of filmmakers were on at the time, I'm sure it still plays like gangbusters. (Sony)