Out of the Blue Screen 85 of 10 reviews

Out of the Blue

1980

Out of the Blue Poster
  • It's a sad existence, though Hopper acknowledges how this existence can be exhilarating. The acting in Out of the Blue is galvanic, conveying extreme emotional states with raw power, and Hopper often presents scenes in long takes that preserve the intensity of the performances. Watching the film, you get absorbed in the characters' self-destructive behavior even though you know it will come to no good.

  • Whereas EASY RIDER provided a shocking ending to a beginning full of wonder and freedom, this story is well past the expansive camera positions, open road, and various psych-folk-rock jams, to a world where the camera stays at a cautious distance, the songs never change, and their words wrap the characters in a thicket of prophetic repetition and foreboding.

  • I can’t think of another film that so perfectly encapsulates how, in the absence of readily available older-sibling instruction or searchable and downloadable identity, kids left to forage for their own thing rummaged up very idiosyncratic and entirely bizarre handmade identities.

  • Dennis Hopper changed the game with Easy Rider (1969), blew up his career with The Last Movie (1971), and then, through a never clearly explained series of events, took over and reconfigured a Canadian tax-shelter project for which he had been hired to act, thus contriving a dialectical comeback with his brutal, accomplished Out of the Blue (1980).

  • This is Hopper's mature masterpiece, for sure, jagged, rough, and lyrical: Harmony Korine lifted the whole kit and kaboodle in Gummo, including Manz, who here provides a scarring moment mumbling "Heartbreak Hotel" to herself outside a greenhouse, devastatingly etching the character's life into the lyrics ("I get so lonely... I could die").

  • Hopper’s characters are in the realm of the irreparable; if the fervent acting occasionally overheats, the reckless emotions nonetheless convey the authentic struggle of personal experience.

  • The anarchic spirit that suffuses Ce-Be, grating her the power to push past all these misfortunes, provides an effective life force for a film that would otherwise be defined by the director’s fetishization of grimy behavior. The message deepens via her punk fixations, the way she finds solace in the twin idols of Elvis and Johnny Rotten, grinning death icons that mirror her passage from face-painted childhood to an adolescence defined by dynamite, drug use and karate moves.

  • Hopper keeps things light and off-the-cuff, allowing his performers free rein—sometimes too much, as in the case of the screechy and shrill Farrell—to explore grim territory without falling into heavy-handedness.

  • As an heir –- perhaps the only one among American directors -– of the mantle of Nicholas Ray’s angst-ridden lyricism, Hopper lacks the visual flair of the former, but his work with actors is just as powerful. Think of how he made Jack Nicholson a star in Easy Rider. What Hopper does here with Linda Manz is no less impressive, and the scenes between her and Hopper speak volumes in suggesting affectionate links and unspoken complicities.

  • This produces a look and feel that communicates the blind rage and ennui out of which punk’s jabby power chords and raucous lyrics sprang. But the film’s punk apotheosis—the just-barely adolescent protagonist Cebe (Linda Manz)—is so flimsily fashioned out of guesswork and fetishism that the drama can’t be taken seriously as depiction or summation of that era’s anger.

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