A young college student is sent to prison as much for killing a pedestrian with his car as for not paying his parking tickets. When the opportunity presents itself he escapes and is ...
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A young college student is sent to prison as much for killing a pedestrian with his car as for not paying his parking tickets. When the opportunity presents itself he escapes and is subsequently on the run with his girlfriend. But how long can this situation last? Written by
Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>
Uninvolved New York college student, estranged from his wealthy family and half-heartedly romancing his radical girlfriend, realizes just how empty and directionless his life has become after he accidentally strikes a jaywalker with his car and is sentenced to a year in jail for vehicular manslaughter. Intensely troubling material, based on the book by Thomas Rogers, given low-keyed, matter-of-fact treatment. Michael Sarrazin's dazed and confused young man doesn't mean to buck the system (i.e., the Establishment), necessarily--he refuses to play by the rules because, as he sees it, you have to lie to win. Not wanting to be dishonest to himself, he manages to get in much deeper trouble. Not a surefire crowd-pleaser (especially for this generation), the film is intelligent and smoothly handled, if unable to explore its themes adequately within this milieu. It doesn't want to be a cop-out and have the protagonist become "a better man" by being a model prisoner--and at the same time, it doesn't want to be explosive or dynamic and have the kid get away guilt-free. There's no happy ending (hence the irony of the title), but certainly the circumstances which arise here are thought-provoking. Sarrazin and young, lovely Barbara Hershey are very good; Arthur Hill also excellent as Sarrazin's surprisingly understanding father. The supporting cast is wonderfully filled with now-familiar faces: Sada Thompson, Ralph Waite, David Doyle, Robert Klein, William Devane, Rue McClanahan, Charles Durning. A forgotten picture worth-seeing...and worth discussing afterward. **1/2 from ****
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