Thursday, August 4, 2011

Movie Notebook: Easy Rider Ending?

Just over a week ago I was finally able watch the classic film Easy Rider. I liked it for the most part. Especially the soundtrack and majestic background of America's southwest as Wyatt(Peter Fonda) and Billy(Dennis Hopper) ride along in their choppers. I can see the allure this movie has towards the motorcycle culture. It was also interesting to see a young Jack Nicholson in his role of a drunk lawyer. To be honest much of the dialogue, what their was of it, is lost on me. I get the stuff though about freedom and counterculture and it’s threat to society. The plot isn’t much either, with Wyatt and Billy riding around and meeting different people along the way, and that’s it. None of this really bothered me.I was actually enjoying the film up until the ending……….


What was Wyatt thinking?

It ends with a couple of rednecks bumping off our hero’s. That itself isn’t as upsetting as how it happens. First we see Billy get shot and Wyatt turns around, with the rednecks assumingly passing him by. Wyatt goes for help, and get this, in the direction the rednecks who just shot his friend are going. The rednecks decide to turn around and head back to the scene of the crime. I don’t understand why Wyatt heads back towards them. Is he stupid? Suicidal? Does he not see them? Did he think Billy was shot by a pissed off rabbit by the side of the road? One would assume he knew they had shot Billy yet he rides right towards them.  Common sense might say to head away from bad guys with a gun but, not Wyatt. This is the scene that still bothers me to the point it almost ruins the rest of the film for me. I understand they had to end the film somehow, but why this way? It kind of reminds me of “Vanishing Point” where our hero kills himself in the end, I understand that more than this.  Can a film student or at least someone “gets” this ending explain it to me. Thanks.