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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Revolutionary's progress (general, not specific, spoiler)

Author: Howard Cherniack (cherns-2) from Vancouver, BC, Canada
23 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although I haven't seen this film since it first came out, I remember it as about the only worthwhile one out of a spate of student-radical films (_The Strawberry Statement_, _R.P.M._, the horrible _Getting Straight_) of the time.

The novel and film chronicle the evolution, or devolution, of a well-meaning student trying to fight against a corrupt society that practices a form of "repressive tolerance." He moves from one form of protest to another, finding defeat and frustration each time, and escalating his militancy in the hopes of making a difference next time. It reflects (without answering) the ends-vs-means issues that many progressive people, especially students, struggled with at the time, trying to find the right way to change a clearly unjust society--demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, getting guns like the Black Panthers, preparing explosives like The Weathermen, kidnapping people like the Front de libération du Québec, assassinating them like the Red Army Faction, or just dropping out like the hippies.

Like Robert Duvall, who also appears in this film, Voight is a true actor, different in every film, rather than a recurring character, like, say, Robert Redford or John Wayne. As I recall, Voight carries his young confusions and good intentions in a very convincing way. The washed-out colour of the film do a good job of reflecting the bleakness of the (unidentified) repressive society.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Low budget drama has it's moments

Author: John Seal from Oakland CA
16 January 2002

It's too low key to arouse much passion, but The Revolutionary is a reasonably interesting look at radical left wing activity in the late 60s. Jon Voight mumbles his way through his role as a college student wrestling with his conscience (and getting expelled for listening to it). Robert Duvall is on hand as a more experienced organiser and Seymour Cassel is his usual fun self as Leonard, the token hippie. There are some very good moments,including a scene where Voight is caught painting anti-capitalist manifestos on a wall. There's also a wonderful pawn shop sequence that gets to the heart and soul of the film's thesis, but too much screen time is spent on Voight's struggling relationships with women. All in all, a period piece that will be of interest to anyone interested in the hard left aspects of political life in the turbulent Vietnam years.

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A Slow Curiosity

Author: cynthia_keegan
11 October 2015

I don't mind a film that moves slowly as long as there are other things to compensate==beautiful cinematography or fine, intense acting (a la The Passenger, The American, or the Tree of Life). But Voight's acting is ordinary, the supporting actors are incidental at best, and the photography is kind of odd. And though the movie was filmed almost exclusively in alleyways and university offices, there is no disguising that this is sooty London and not urban America. The tone of the movie reminds me a bit of the Graduate, moving kind of aimlessly about, with a hero that was not quite sure what he wanted, juxtaposed against the mores of uninvolved upper middle class elders who he secretly despises ( while coveting their WASPy daughters), and grittier street types.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

We don't need a revolution...

Author: JasparLamarCrabb from Boston, MA
25 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An ambiguous study of a misguided college student's political awakening. Jon Voight has the lead, a nebbish philosophy major (named "A") who finds himself moving from parlor politics on campus to true terrorism when he aligns with what amount to professional radicals. Voight gives such a committed performance that it's a shame the film is so inert. Although it's perplexing as to why Voight walks like a duck...a very odd touch. Directed by Paul Williams, who also helmed the much better DEALING..., the movie moves at a snail's pace. Still, Voight is pretty amazing as is Robert Duvall as a committed radical and Seymour Cassel as a real loose cannon. The minimalist score is by Michael Small and there's great cinematography by Brian Probyn.

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