The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 28
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 8
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 3
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,872
Dreams die hard in wintry Atlantic City in Bob Rafelson's downbeat character drama. Depressive deejay David Staebler (Jack Nicholson) tends to his grandfather as he philosophizes on late-night Philadelphia talk radio. When his huckster older brother Jason (Bruce Dern) calls out of the blue one day, David travels to Atlantic City to see what his latest easy money scheme is. Along with his former beauty queen companion Sally (Ellen Burstyn) and her pretty stepdaughter Jessica (Julia Anne
Oct 12, 1972 Wide
Apr 25, 2000
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Julia Anne Robinson
John P. Ryan
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Admirers of director Bob Rafelson's previous feature, Five Easy Pieces, will be stunned by the tedious pretensions of his newest effort.
An odd, unsettling movie overall, vague in its characterisation and narrative, dotted with bewildering asides and lacking any real warmth or humour.
Bob Rafelson's The King of Marvin Gardens is a perversely satisfying movie -- it works after going out of its way not to -- and a very eccentric one.
Rafelson's kind of poetic realism, an accuracy in the treatment of unexpected settings, looked like quality to some in Five Easy Pieces two years back. Now it looks like the most pretentious of tired clichés.
The film is well worth seeing, but the real attraction is the stunning depiction of Atlantic City.
A flawed masterpiece full of menace, surreal moments and obscure dialogues, with the city photographed in all its desolate, decaying beauty ...
The wintry Atlantic City is brilliantly evoked; the firecracker dialogue is a joy, and the final, chaotic denouement is genuinely unexpected.
[A] taxingly morose, intermittently interesting reunion between the director and star of the tremendous Five Easy Pieces.
Introspective and self-conscious, it's a chill offering that struggles to find its own voice.
The King of Marvin Gardens reminds us of the diversity and dynamism of the New Hollywood movement. And how odd it is that a largely forgotten film should feel so utterly unforgettable.
Rafelson relies heavily on overt symbolism and visual metaphor, which provides plenty of food for thought for the literary-minded, but also tends to weigh down the narrative and make it feel more heavy-handed than it should
Memorable performances from the players, including Ellen Burstyn as a psychotic girlfriend of Dern's.
Irresistible. It was a bitterly odd pic that offered an Atlantic City scenario that had no saltwater taffy to sweeten the taste.
One of those interesting, well-acted chamber dramas at which 1970s Hollywood excelled.
Audience Reviews for The King of Marvin Gardens
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