Monday, August 1, 2011

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

"If a person has no love for himself, no respect for himself,no love of his friends, family, work, something - how can he ask for love in return?"

- Bobby Dupea (Jack Nicholson) is an unhappy guy. Leaving his well to do musical family and not pursuing his own musical talent, Bobby chooses to live the "eat, drink, and be merry" lifestyle and work dead-end jobs. But when his father becomes ill, Bobby has to return home and face his family, his fears, and where he wants his life to end up.

Jack Nicholson is wonderful in Five Easy Pieces (1970) as Bobby, giving an Academy Award-nominated performance that can be counted among his very best. Nicholson's performance is a mix of the Nicholson we always love to see and a Nicholson we have rarely seen here in Five Easy Pieces. While Nicholson puts plenty of humor into the role in a way that only he can, his performance is also very emotional and moving at times. Karen Black also gives an Academy Award-nominated performance in the film as Rayette "Ray" Dipesto, Bobby's bimbo girlfriend, extremely annoying and dimwitted (and that's actually a good thing in this case, surprisingly, as it fits her character perfectly). The rest of the cast you can unfortunately take or leave, although I did find Susan Anspach's performance as Catherine a grade lower than the rest of the cast, emitting an unpleasing delivery and screen presence.

Five Easy Pieces is a great film with a great human story about one man's struggle to be happy - and yes, I do mean "struggle" - that many can relate to. A character driven film with a good script, Five Easy Pieces has moments that will make you laugh and make you cry. Also equipped with an unique soundtrack that gives the film a different feel and a pleasing look with a lot of hand-held filming and nice texture, Five Easy Pieces is a very enjoyable film.

CBC Rating: 8/10

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