I do a podcast that interlaces film review with critical perspectives about justice, peace, conflict, and violence.
This film is far from perfect, but it does confront an important topic in a provocative and accessible way.
The film takes the audience right up to a ongoing deliberation about the death penalty, which is a penultimate expression of the logic of “justice” is in the nation-state as we know it. It’s so important and meaningful to have this deep-dive into the justice-and-mercy conversation.
Lucy’s character is written into an incredibly compelling backstory, as someone who is both victimized and supposedly vindicated by the state’s abhorrent and violent sense of justice. It’s an ideal situation to ponder on what justice means.
The music is really bad (apparently, I don’t know how to tell very well, although it sounds appropriate to me in the scenes) and there’s some awkward delivery, but it’s a beautiful film.
I think that the best thing this film has going for it is certainly the story, the musical from 1985 and the noble from 1862 are timeless treasures that are powerful and interesting. To me, that is obvious. So, in reviewing the film, the question becomes, what…
Easy Rider is a piece of American mythology.
The film employs almost every imaginable 1960s stereotype about multiple facets of American culture, but maintains piercing originality. The entire journey of Billy and Wyatt then takes on a larger-than-life, epic, meaning. Their journey is through and about American culture, and questions what America is and ever was.
Admittedly, I first watched this film in January 2021, and the genealogy of its imagery is undeniable. And at the end of the day, the questions of where freedom might be found, where America is directed, and how we “blew it” remain hugely meaningful.