Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Short Attention Span Review: Electra Glide in Blue (1973)

Short Attention Span Review: Electra Glide in Blue (1973)

I watched a rather unique film this weekend, and I'm pretty sure that it was an American classic.  I had never heard of it before happening upon it by chance, and I'm not sure what drew me to it in the first place.  Maybe it was that groovy title, Electra Glide in Blue.  From the onset, two things were readily apparent: the craftmanship was sublime, and the subject matter was deep and open to interpretation.  A captivating character study and a meditation on so many different things, to include ideals as opposed to reality, isolation, civic duty, machismo, and even the merits of peace in a violent world, ten different viewers would likely draw ten different conclusions from the picture.  The cinematography was nothing short of superb, and while I greatly enjoyed the cast (in particular, star Robert Blake fully committed to the lead role and offered up a bravura performance as a result), the way the shots were framed and the powerful combination of riveting close-ups and compelling wide shots may have been the picture's greatest strengths.  It was impossible to look away no matter how bleak the movie became, though there were flourishes of humor and excitement sprinkled throughout.  The ending served as the perfect punctuation for a quizzical and startling film that worked for me on a great many levels.  As with any movie of this ilk, I do think it would prove divisive for most.  While I found it incredibly satisfying and worthy of repeated viewings, many would likely view it as too broad and ambiguous--or take offense at some of the conclusions they draw from it.  Of course, I tend to think that a film that can provoke such reactions is often a rich find, and I am certainly glad that I took a little ride with Electra Glide in Blue.

Final Grade: A

Electra Glide in Blue deserves another look, and the juxtaposition of civility and brutality is as relevant now as ever.

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