Director Bogdanovich has achieved a tactile sense of time and place. More, he has performed that most difficult of all cinematic feats: he has made ennui fascinating. Together, that is enough to herald him as possibly the most exciting new director in America today.
A fabulous example of taking a two hour film and making it feel like we are visitors who have been transported to another place and time; a time which encompasses the span of several months without any dull character developments. The cinematography is spot-on gorgeous.
It really worked out for me until it's last third, when the pace starts to drag and you lose interest as Duane and Jacy hardly appear on screen. Some great performances and writing. Cybill Shepherd is a goddess.
Peter Bogdanovich's fine second film, The Last Picture Show, adapted from Larry McMurtry's novel by McMurtry and Bogdanovich, has the effect of a lovely, leisurely, horizontal pan-shot across the life of Anarene, Tex., a small, shabby town on a plain so flat that to raise the eye even 10 degrees would be to see only an endless sky.
It’s plain and uncondescending in its re-creation of what it means to be a high-school athlete, of what a country dance hall is like, of the necking in cars and movie houses, and of the desolation that follows high-school graduation.
An unflinchingly honest, raw and saddening tale of adolescent existentialism, generational relations and the pitfalls of the American small town, "The Last Picture Show" is a thematically resonant tentpole of the New Hollywood movement, yet one I still regard as a fitting testament to the notion that a movie can't succeed on thematic resonance alone. Granted, there's more at work here beyond that, it's still impossible to deny that all other elements take a back seat to the overall subtext at work. With this in mind, no single component takes more of a hit than the pacing. Combined with the fact that this is already a relatively quiet and subtle experience for most of its running time anyway, "The Last Picture Show's" deliberate cadence will be sure to try the patience of at least some viewers. When all is said and done, though, I'm also sure there'll be some sort of ethical/psychological/sociological kernel of knowledge that everyone will take away from the experience.
This slow paced drama uses its superb ensemble cast well focusing primarily on the story of a young man navigating his small town life as he begins a sexual relationship with a middle aged married woman. There are some great plot points but the slow paced dry direction and black and white photography did little to draw me into the world. Worth a watch just for the cast.