Tuesday, 11 January 2011

I finally got to see Out Of The Blue!

I had wanted to see this film for at least ten years. I'm not quite sure why it took me so long. I guess the urgent desire to see it just drifted in and out of my head from time to time and when it occasionally popped up, it was always either unavailable or too expensive.

I finally picked up a copy last week in Brisbane. For some strange reason it was part of a budget combination disc; you know, those 2 films on one disc things that you see in pound shops, but that usually aren't even worth that pound. But, there it was. Out of The Blue, lumped together with some Charles Bronson film whose name escapes me now, for five Aussie dollars.

Made in 1980, it marked a return to directing for Dennis Hopper, after the flop of The Last Movie in 1971. I only watched it last night, but I already want to watch it again. It really is a stunning piece of work, with amazing performances from Dennis Hopper and Linda Manz in the lead roles. It is slightly confusing and difficult to follow at times, but somehow it kind of adds to the chaotic nature of the story itself.

Hopper himself plays Don, a common criminal/alcoholic/trucker who's jailed for crashing his truck into a stationary school bus, having been distracted from driving by kissing a clown. He eventually returns from prison to find his world has changed completely. His daughter Cebe (played by Linda Manz) has grown up to be a rebellious teenager. Obsessed with punk music and Elvis, she drifts around, skips school and causes trouble. His wife on the other hand, works as a waitress, shoots heroin and fools around with his former best friend and sleazebag Charlie. There really isn't much of a plot here. We mainly follow these characters as they attempt to restore some sort of order to their chaotic lives. A history of incest and paedophilia is hinted at throughout the film, but it's only really towards the end of the film when we fully realise how messed up everything really is. Apologies for the spoiler, but you'll find it difficult to read any reviews of this film that doesn't mention the ending. It really hits you in the face in a complete what-the-fuck-just-happened kind of way.

The film is beautifully photographed throughout, but the stand-out scenes for me are the ones of Don working at the rubbish dump, completely surrounded by seagulls.

It's not an easy film to watch. But stick with it and you'll find it is a beautiful and intense experience, dealing with difficult subjects in an extremely frank way. At times, it reminded me of Fassbinder's work. That is pretty much as high an appraisal as I can give, so Out Of The Blue is definitely worth tracking down.

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