thu 29/10/2020

Five Easy Pieces | reviews, news & interviews

Five Easy Pieces

Five Easy Pieces

The Rafelson/Nicholson classic gets a 40th-anniversary re-airing

'Ya know if ya wouldn’t open your mouth, everything would be just fine': Jack Nicholson charms Karen Black in 'Five Easy Pieces'

Five Easy Pieces is the nominal sibling to Easy Rider, which put Jack Nicholson a step from stardom in 1969. But Pieces, this 40th-anniversary reissue reminds you, was a very different film. The soundtrack is Patsy Cline, not Steppenwolf, and we first see Nicholson working in a hard hat, the music and garb of pro-‘Nam hippie-bashers in 1970. But the cultural action is mostly in Nicholson himself, and the simmering storm of dissatisfaction and high intelligence in his odd-angled, lean face, not often inclined here to split into that trademark super-smile.

Five Easy Pieces is the nominal sibling to Easy Rider, which put Jack Nicholson a step from stardom in 1969. But Pieces, this 40th-anniversary reissue reminds you, was a very different film. The soundtrack is Patsy Cline, not Steppenwolf, and we first see Nicholson working in a hard hat, the music and garb of pro-‘Nam hippie-bashers in 1970. But the cultural action is mostly in Nicholson himself, and the simmering storm of dissatisfaction and high intelligence in his odd-angled, lean face, not often inclined here to split into that trademark super-smile.

It’s the same old riff of young American men who feel they’re free spirits with the keys to the kingdom, if only chicks and responsibilities wouldn’t drag them back

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters