9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Classic New Hollywood film.,
This review is from: The Last Detail [VHS] (VHS Tape)Hal Ashby was probably one of the most underrated of the New Hollywood directors (Bogdanovich, De Palma, Coppola, Friedkin, Scorsese, Spielberg, Rafelson etc)- which is bizarre considering the classic films he directed (Coming Home, Shampoo, Being There, Harold & Maude) and the coverage given to him in Peter Biskind's bestseller Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.
The Last Detail is one of Nicholson's key early performances (see also Easy Rider, Carnal Knowledge, King of Marvin Gardens, Five Easy Pieces) and details a road trip where two naval petty officers (Nicholson, Otis Young) escort another recruit (Randy Quaid) to military prison. Based on Darryl Ponicsan's novel, this film contains allusions to the Vietnam War- which had moved beyond the borders of Vietnam to Cambodia by now- a good reading of this notion is found in Biskind's book).
Michael Chapman's photography shows the influence of the French New Wave and Cinema Verite movements- this would lead to his great work on Scorsese's Raging Bull. Carol Kane (Annie Hall, After Hours) gives a great supporting performance- and would give a similar one in a bizarre movie which starred Dennis Hopper & Kiefer Sutherland whose name escapes me (and Hopper would remake this film with Elena Ekleniak & Tom Berenger in another more forgettable 90's movie). This is one of the classic Road movies of the era- next to Five Easy Pieces, Alice in the Cities or Two Lane Blacktop. The Last Detail is a key work of 1970's American cinema and ranks next to Harold & Maude and Shampoo as one of Ashby's greatest works.