Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tracks

Posted on Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Tracks
Studio: Paramount
WorkNameSort: Tracks
Ahead of its time in ways both good and bad, this 1976 film stars Dennis Hopper as a shell-shocked Vietnam vet tasked with transporting the body of his dead friend across America via a train journey. Predating the wave of PTSD movies that broke on screens in the late '70s and early '80s, Tracks is a largely scriptless and generally aimless work that, surprisingly enough, finds Hopper acting rather restrained. Having missed a proper cinematic release (it was confined to art-house theaters and festivals), the film makes the case that the subject matter was too much for audiences still smarting from the effects of the Vietnam war. However, it's far more likely that it was simply because Tracks was too damned strung out to appeal to any but the most adventurous filmgoer. Hopper's rambling interactions with various passengers on the train (not to mention a thoroughly disconcerting bit of full-frontal nudity) as well as an overload of ham-fisted symbolism on the part of writer/director Henry Jaglom makes Tracks almost unwatchable. This sparse DVD presentation doesn't help its cause much, as the only bonus feature is uninformative commentary from Hopper and Jaglom.

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