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Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) [Masters of Cinema] (LTD Edition Steelbook) [Blu-ray]
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With the melancholy open-road epic Two-Lane Blacktop , American auteur Monte Hellman (The Shooting, Cockfighter , and the recent Road to Nowhere) poeticised the beautiful, terrible rootlessness of his nation in the era of Vietnam. Funded by Universal in a bid to recreate the success of Easy Rider by giving a number of filmmakers $1m and final cut Hellman's effort is now regarded as one of the key films of the New Hollywood renaissance of the early 1970s.
While driving eastward on Route 66, two rival car owners The Driver (singer-songwriter James Taylor) and The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys) in a souped-up, drag-racing '55 Chevy, and a middle-aged braggart (Warren Oates) in a gleaming GTO begin to race for each other's pink slips and the affections of the listless female hitchhiker (Laurie Bird) who joins them on the road.
Scripted by esteemed novelist Rudy Wurlitzer, and featuring the only screen performances of Taylor and Wilson, Two-Lane Blacktop remains a timeless, existential portrait of lives in transit and of a country questioning its identity.
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James Taylor is The Driver, a car-obsessed racer with stringy hair and a concentration that precludes conversation. He travels the backroads of rural America with his buddy, The Mechanic, (Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys), an equally obsessed lost soul at home only in the car or under the hood. They have no names, only designations, and no life outside of their gypsy existence, riding the unending highway in their souped-up '55 Chevy from race to race. After picking up a hitchhiking Girl (Laurie Bird), whose presence breaks the tunnel-vision focus of the two men, they challenge a middle-aged hotshot, the garrulous G.T.O. (Warren Oates) to a cross-country race. Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop is the most alienated evocation of modern America ever made, an almost abstract study in dislocation and obsession set against a vague landscape of roadside diners and rest stops. Taylor and Wilson deliver appropriately blank performances, only expressing emotion when The Girl sparks jealousy between them. Oates is a glib dynamo constructing a new persona in every scene, as if trying on characters to play as he ping-pongs between the coasts. "How fast does it go?" asks The Driver, admiring G.T.O.'s car. "Fast enough," he answers. The Driver snaps, "You can never go fast enough." These are characters on the road to nowhere who can't work up enough speed to escape themselves. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to the DVD edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
To me what this film does is capture the mesmerizing almost hallucinogenic rootless quality of travelling. It's like being in the passenger seat on a long journey with nothing to do but observe the shifts in the landscape. It should be deathly dull, but it isn't. It's hypnotic.
The race between the Driver (James Taylor), the Mechanic (Dennis Wilson) and GTO (Warren Oates) is simply a meaningless gesture, a theoretical destination on an infinite map. The girl ( Laurie Bird) is a self invented muse, almost like ghost on the highway. She's not really interested in the male characters and they are not really interested in her beyond the belief they all seem to share that at some level cars and girls seem right.
Two Lane Blacktop is a truly fascinating film and the ending is perfect. Who care who won the race, it was just a race.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant never thought I'd find this classic if somewhat obscure road movie on dvd it didn't get lost in the mists of time and if you're a petrol head it's worth getting a copy.Published 5 months ago by David W
A film not a lot of people will have heard of but this is well worth watchingPublished 6 months ago by Boppinggeo
Great video, had this video before, had to buy it again, staring Dennis Wilson of the beachboys and James TaylorPublished 7 months ago by Derek