Robert Dupea has given up his promising career as a concert pianist and is now working in oil fields. He lives together with Rayette, who's a waitress in a diner. When Robert hears from his sister that his father isn't well, he drives up to Washington to see him, taking Rayette with him. There he gets confronted with his rich, cultured family that he had left behind.Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
The 1963 Mercury Monterey Breezeway that Bobby drives has Washington state license plates (ARH 633) even when he is living in California, which is a violation of the California vehicle code. See more »
During Bobby's monologue with his father at about 1:27:30 there is an onlooker in the far background in the top left corner of the frame. After 15 seconds they walk away, giving themselves away as a person rather than a tree stump. See more »
I'm gonna play it again.
You play that thing one more time, I'm gonna melt it down into hairspray.
Let me play the other side then.
No, Rayette, it's not a question of sides. It's a question of musical integrity.
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"Five Easy Pieces" is one of those "flawed" movies that has several excellent scenes, some outstanding performances, and very often features ingenious direction. But the sum never equals the many great parts. Why? For one thing, character motivations are often opaque. Even the character of Bobby, whom Jack Nicholson plays brilliantly, remains a mosaic rather than an intelligible entity. The closest the movie comes to figuring out Bobby is when Catherine van Oost (played, again brilliantly, by Susan Anspach) dices and slices him into many more than five tiny little pieces. "Why should I go with you?" she asks him. "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? I mean, why should he ask for it?" Bobby is left muttering something like "Well, ah . . . I could make you happy." But he realizes she's right. The audience, unfortunately, realized the same thing about an hour earlier.
The editing by Christopher Holmes and Gerald Shepard is first-classbut the best part of the movie is Bob Rafelson's directing. I mean, what a vision this man had! It stretches from what look like Gulf Coast oil fields to Los Angeles to Vancouver Island (or places remarkably similar). The extremely difficult traffic sequences--even the ones on the ferry boats--flow seamlessly. And the "road movie" section from L.A. to Vancouver with Helena Kallianiotis as the utterly bizarre, hygiene-obsessed lesbian is a masterpiece. In every location, Rafelson has everything under control, yet he allowed actors a wide berth to expand the rather abstract characters assigned them. The movie is worth watching for both its flaws and its inconsistencies. Not a great movie, but worth watching, thinking about, and rediscovering.
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