This is a good look at a pair of losers that is a bit too episodic. Hackman has recently been released from San Quentin where he did some hard time for assault. He's on his way to Pittsburgh where he hopes to open a car wash on the modest savings he's accumulated. Pacino is a seaman who has just completed a voyage. The two men hit it off and decide to go...read more
This is a good look at a pair of losers that is a bit too episodic. Hackman has recently been released from San Quentin where he did some hard time for assault. He's on his way to Pittsburgh where he hopes to open a car wash on the modest savings he's accumulated. Pacino is a seaman who
has just completed a voyage. The two men hit it off and decide to go east together. On the trip, they have adventures in bars, diners, and various residences belonging to former loves and old pals. As they near their destinations, Pacino becomes nervous about seeing his wife, Allen, whom he left
while she was pregnant. Hackman does his best to encourage him, but Pacino is beginning to crumble. He's never seen his child, and, when he phones ahead to Detroit and talks to Allen (in a very sensitive portrayal), she lies, telling him that the child he'd thought she had was never born. She says she miscarried early and all of his trepidation about meeting his child was for naught. Pacino goes into a violent form of nervous breakdown. The final scenes show Hackman using his savings to pay for Pacino's hospital care, his hopes of opening his own business tossed aside in favor of helping
his only friend. Hackman gives another splendid, compelling performance. Pacino's characterization is rather weak, however. His roles in DOG DAY AFTERNOON and THE GODFATHER are better indications of his talents. There are points where writer White has created unrealistic lines for Pacino instead
of allowing the character to emerge subtly and become part of the story. Brennan does well as a barroom floozie, and Tristan scores as one of Hackman's ex-girlfriends. The picture looks wonderful and captures the grittiness of the road. Schatzberg had been a photographer and his collaboration with
Zsigmond is fruitful in that respect for much of the film, though they are both occasionally guilty of gratuitous Hollywood gloss. The ending is not consistent with Hackman's behavior all the way through. Given the box office potency of the two stars, the receipts were disappointing, although the
movie eventually did make a small profit. No four-letter word seems to have been omitted.
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