The subject matter in this film is something in which id only assume that the studios would not want to be associated with. The hippy, drug, promiscuous, biker lewd behavior really can be seen, as off putting too many. The story tackles all these subjects’ head on and is not afraid to approach taboo subjects. For instance the bikers in the beginning of the movie score big by going to what only one can assume is Mexico and then bringing the drugs up to California and selling them. It is extremely controversial to have blatant association with drug dealing and use. The way it becomes acceptable is because the drug use and all the other wild things they do are used as a tool in the film to separate them from society. The purpose of their cross-country trip was not only to get to mardi gras but also to find spiritual bliss. Wyatt towards the end of the movie after their bad lsd trip says, “We blew it” which refers to how their spiritual quest was a fail.
I think the movie did a good job in relating having two characters that are quite different from us and when we balance them we can relate. Fonda is a quiet and well-thought character whereas Hopper is a loud mouth impatient man. I see myself in both of them but not completely in either. We are all looking to stand out from society’s grasp but at the same time being different in a world of normal can be very scary, like the riders in the south.
The films ending is incredibly frustrating because you grow to like these characters free spirits and hope they end up finding in search of what they were looking for but instead they get murdered by southern hillbillies. They search for true real freedom but in the end they never find it.
The lighting is a very natural which is a break from studio style because it is mostly artificial. Hopper said in an interview that the shooting was all done outside because “God is the greatest gaffer.” There is a scene which I think is done in Hollywood style where they are riding and Fonda has Nicholas on his back and its like a montage with “The Weight” by Smith playing.
The film immediately establishes that they are not your average American citizens. From the way they dress to the bikes they ride you can tell that they are not looking to fit in but rather get along. What intrigues me mostly is the taboo drug culture that takes place in the film. It serves as a social lubricate almost just like how alcohol has become the same