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An important touchstone of the New Hollywood era, Five Easy Pieces is a haunting portrait of alienation that features one of Jack Nicholson's greatest performances.
All Critics (49)
| Top Critics (14)
| Fresh (43)
| Rotten (6)
| DVD (3)
If the function of art is to help an audience feel less alone, then Five Easy Pieces succeeds beautifully.
A very modern film. Elliptical, absurdist, harshly humorous, convulsively lyrical.
The flaws of this acutely self-conscious 1970 road picture grow more obvious with every passing year, but so does its passion and eloquence.
The movie has more anger than it knows what to do with; that's its fascination and its weakness, too.
This superbly composed film comes as close to perfection as it gets.
Nicholson makes it all go. He proves he is more than a "character actor" with many scenes, especially the confrontation with his father.
Gritty '70s drama about alienation has sex, cursing.
A new kind of picture even for its era ... Jack Nicholson's performance still stands as one of his greatest.
Director Bob Rafelson attempts something unusual here, making a film that's subtle about its meaning without ever ranging into the pretentiously oblique or merely ambiguous.
A key turn-of-the-decade film, with Nicholson railing against waitresses and barking at noisy dogs as Rafelson observes seedily picturesque roadside America.
The film, superbly directed by Rafelson, shifts the late 1960s hippy drop-out genre into the Ingmar Bergman class: it's cerebral, yes, but also moving and witty.
The movie is a succession of dazzling scenes.
A sorrowful tale about the implications of being a runaway from life, Jack Nicholson gives a stellar performance as Robert, a former piano prodigy. Robert is a very interesting character, a man who runs from everything in the world, just so he can be alone and selfish. He runs off from his wealth and his family because he can't deal with his father's disapproval. He runs from his girlfriend, his job, from everything that dissatisfies him only because he wants his life to be purposeful, for something to come out of nothing. He doesn't want to feel trapped by money, and yet he resents anyone who believes he's as lowdown as they are. His selfishness becomes his undoing, and his tendency to run forces him to choose between doing the right thing and the wrong. A stellar supporting cast, amazing premise, and a powerful performance from Nicholson makes this character study an exercise in the contention of human error.
Love the Tammy Wynette/Classical music soundtrack. Especially love the scene where Elton's wife is glued to the small staticy tv screen watching Frank Capra's "You Can't Take It With You".
A great road movie about a man who is on a, wait for it, existential journey. This film not only spoke to a generation of filmgoers bewildered by end of the turbulent 60's, but also catapulted Nicholson to the A-List. It is a powerful study on alienation and not for those seeking escapist entertainment.
While it is most famous for it's diner scene, I think that scene deserves more than just the simple laugh that most people give it. While Nicholson is on a constant search for his place in this world, on the rare occasion that he does know what he wants, his efforts are obstructed by an established order. Even his attempts to rectify the situation are thwarted by those who reinforce the order. A palpable message for the turn of the decade. Unfortunately, the film does take some unnecessary detours, pun intended, and Karen Black has to be one of the most obnoxious on screen presences I have ever witnessed.
Jack Nicholson's performance in Five Easy Pieces is incendiary, plain and simple. It's not a particularly exciting or even a feel good movie but its an honest character study with plenty of great and/or distracting moments. The direction and photography are beautiful and the soundtrack is great. Five Easy Pieces gets better with each viewing and is proof positive that Jack Nicholson could do no wrong in the early 1970s.
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