|Cinerama Releasing Corporation | Release Date: December 10, 1969||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
The movie is so unrelievedly pessimistic that only the most dedicated misanthrope could love it. But there’s something oddly bracing—noble, even—about a Hollywood picture that’s willing to say, without even a hint of soft-pedaling, that life isn’t worth living, and that it’s squalid, unfair, and disappointing. Read full review
The director, Sydney Pollack, isn't particularly inventive, but he has tight control of the actors. They work well for him, and he keeps the grisly central situation going with energy and drive.
The acting is strident and overblown, the narrative technique gimmicky and obvious, and the implication that the competitors' situation is a microcosm of a wider-reaching American malaise (though safely distanced by the period and the flash-back-and-forth narrative technique) rather pretentious. Read full review
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