Zabriskie Point Reviews
Yes, the film is beautiful to look at, great cinematography. The acting is bad, but I think that is on purpose. I don't think Antonioni wanted good actors to give a real feel, I think he wanted bad actors to display the US as a country full of fake people (which it is). And the ending, the blowing up of capitalism is great, and the orgy in the desert, I feel was commenting that the idea of free love is a waste of activity, it wasn't fertile, nothing could grow from it.
The film is not bad at all, the "bad" parts are just as much commentary on the subject as any of the good parts.
The film is more art than a straight film and more an op-ed than a narrative.
In an interview with Roger Ebert, Antonioni mentioned the 68 protests, and while he highlights a similar thing, his protagonist is only looking for the action of a protest, not the point behind it. Like Mark says later, he wants the risk, he's like an adrenaline junkie. He was a rich kid that got bored (that is hinted at in the long ride to the school when he runs the red light in Beverly Hills), he's not interested in change, he's just a dumb kid.
I've read various pieces and opinions on the film and when people say the film is vapid, they aren't right, but neither are they wrong, the main characters are vapid, he more so than she, and that is what Antonioni was going for.
In the end, I think that those feeling the film was a waste of time, kinda got the point, because I think that Antonioni found the US to be a waste of time. I saw an intelligent filmmaker making decisions based on what he thought of America, not a filmmaker out to create the greatest film ever.
A lot of what makes Zabriskie Point a mess is its lack of direction. It's very much evidenced at the beginning - Antonioni aims for a more mockumentary feel with the relaxed Godard-esque capture of the youth meeting - and at the middle when the two protagonists rendezvous. Which is it, man? Quasi-documentary or psychedelic romance? The answer is, "Neither." It's first and foremost a road movie. Even in the beginning, it has a very alienating sense of aimlessness that films like Easy Rider manage to communicate. The aim of the trip that the audience is on is that there is no aim - you are on for however long the ride needs to be. You are hooked by the beautiful chaos around you - the deaths, the counterculture straight out of a fictional interpretation of Medium Cool - and you ride along as Antonioni points at specific places in America and says, "Hey, guys! There's something a bit wrong with this!"
I want films to be this bold. However, films cannot be this bold since you're gonna get people who screw up big time like Antonioni. But this isn't an "A for effort/A for ariginality" type of deal - this is the work of a master who knows what he's doing and deliberately does so in order to make a wider point. The stilted philosophy and acting? Guess what was the norm in 1960s America! The plastic culture and ridiculous standards of living? Guess what was the norm in regular culture in 1969! The youth movements that seem extremely splintered and focus entirely on violence as a means to solve every feasible problem? Sounds just like the mindset of a teenager after the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Antonioni isn't trying to glamorize America or the youth here - he's screaming at us in a way similar to Blow-Up, "Hey, guys! You need serious help! You can't go on being like this forever!"
And how do I know this? How am I sure that I have finally interpreted Zabriskie Point in the right way? Because it is eerily similar to 2013-14. People using stand-your-ground to justify acts of violence and immunity from criminal charges. Youth being discriminated over assumptions and yet being so stubborn that they will get themselves killed. Suburbia becoming more and more structured. We are in need of a desert convergence where we all get together in Zabriskie Point and finally get to know one another's bare psyche. All to the music of Jerry Garcia, may I add. But yeah, Zabriskie Point is still a pretty contemporary film - dated in some ways, but very contemporary. Scarily contemporary.
This has to be one of the dumbest movies I've ever seen. The plot seemed random at best, with gaping holes and many contrived scenarios. The anti-police/anti-establishment propaganda was laid on so thick and one-sidedly that nobody could really have ended up taking this seriously.
I guess this movie was made simply to exploit the growing number of naive flower-power morons around at the time and other types who would relate to the "heroes" of the story: the plane-stealing idiot and the vacant girl.
[font=Century Gothic]"Zabriskie Point" is a very dated movie about violence in America. The acting is amateurish with the exceptions of Rod Taylor and G.D. Spradlin. Michelangelo Antonioni sure seemed to enjoy photographing billboards. There are a couple of nice sequences, though.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]What is wrong with nonviolent resistance by the way? Granted, I did not like meetings in my college days and I still do not(The subject matter having changed from socialism to capitalism.) but in any kind of movement, you still need some sort of ideology and idea as to what you hope to achieve. [/font]