Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Bob Rafelson's unanimously praised character drama Five Easy Pieces was seen by critics as the serious and implicit opposite to the often flamboyant and stylistically richer films of the period in American filmmaking which Pauline Kael hailed as the most rewarding. This is a dense and completely sombre portrait of contemporary social alienation with few other objectives. There is power in Jack Nicholson's complex, multi-talented, multi-flawed character, and Nicholson has the edge and potency to make him effective and appropriately tragic, but the film remains lifeless, uninspiring and emotionally detached. Robert Dupea's heartache and ambivalence isn't transferred to the viewer. Instead we sit and observe a social criticism which for modern audiences will seem both dated and somewhat irrelevant.