Paula’s review published on Letterboxd:
WOW. And wow. wow.
Imagine watching a movie and being jaw-dropped during the entire last 15 minutes. I was like that, covering my mouth, in complete awe, for everything I saw, experienced and thought.
It's easy, in 2019, to watch this movie and think - "eh, another movie about hippies". Don't forget one thing - it's 2019. This movie was released in 1969, right in the middle of the Vietnam war, and yet we see scenes of drug traffic, the first time a man smokes weed, a hippie community, the whole idiotic drama around men who have long hair, and people experiencing their first acid trip. I'll never forget what Jack Nicholson's character, George Hanson, says when Wyatt asks if he can get them of out jail: "Well, I imagine that I can if you haven't killed anybody - at least, nobody white."
Yes. All this criticism in the middle of the Vietnam War. This is was not merely a movie, this is not a mere "counterculture" classic, this is not a simply "iconic quintessential road trip movie"- this is a damn punch right in the middle of the pathetic American government and the psychopathic, hypocritical ultraconservative society back then - and that we still live in. A precise, violent, and well-deserved punch in the middle of those who have the guts to stalk, slander and even kill those who just fight for freedom and equality.
Now what shocks me about this movie is not exactly its gorgeous photography, impeccable soundtrack, precise pacing and competent actings by the entire cast (kudos to Dennis Hopper for directing and acting both impeccably well). What shocks me about this movie is not exactly the revolutionary and social impact it has for its brilliant and necessary criticism of a society addicted to blood and war.
NO. What really shocks me about this movie is the message it gives to us, right here, in 2019 - we, as a society, have become SQUARE. Back then, in 1969, when anyone who wasn't a crazy racist pro-war lunatic was hunted like animals, when people were being MURDERED for no reason in Vietnam, a movie of THIS revolutionary and iconoclastic tone was being released. This can only be made by moviemakers who are not afraid. The ones who have a message to society. The ones who use their influence, their movie, and their voice in Hollywood to actually SAY SOMETHING.
Now look at us, look at CULTURE in 2019: we have become square, passive, conformed to a capitalistic and a brutal world where Internet is our opium and we think we're actually changing something by posting an online rant (just like I'm doing right now! Isn't that pathetic?). A world where black people are still being killed for being black, Mexicans are being shot in El Paso for the mere fact they are Mexicans and gays are being persecuted everyday and STILL the most popular movies nowadays are either romantic comedies or superhero sagas.
"Easy Rider" is not only a punch in society's face back then.
It's a punch in our faces today, 50 years later.