My god, those opening thirty minutes... Foundational. This was such a mysterious movie to me as a kid, something I saw quite early and didn't know how to digest. The scenes in the foggy alley, the bloody nightmare Jon Voight, the way death just appeared without sense or warning. It was scorched in my head. It was upsetting and intoxicating. Had I ever encountered this sort of death and failure in a film before this? I really doubt it. Has…
Just when you can't handle another scene, this movie hits you with sweetness. Just when you start getting comfortable, it turns unwatchable. And just when you think it's "cool", it gets too disturbed. All while following the beats of a teenage TV drama... In the long line of hustler stories, this has gotta be the first absurdist melodrama. This movie is not what you think. It's unpredictable in unpredictable ways. It's gorgeous, cheeky, and fucking brutally upsetting.
But also, for long…
For a political drama, this really avoids the actual politics of the Chicago 7. It does not talk about imperialism, it does not talk about dead Vietnamese civilians, it does not talk about the American police force as an inherently authoritarian regime, it does not talk about prison abolition, and it avoids the word capitalism. This movie, in general, avoids radical critique of America. And that would be fine -- movies don't have to be about radicalism! -- except for…