21 February 2017 | AAdaSC
Are you gonna kill me too?
asks Susan Sarandon (Melissa) of her father Dennis Patrick (Bill) after she overhears him discussing that he has killed her drug-dealer boyfriend Patrick McDermott (Frank). She goes on the run in the hippie communes of New York and Patrick goes in search of her with his new buddy Peter Boyle (Joe). Boyle is a racist bigot who admires Patrick for taking out a hippie. He wants to do the same.
It's a hard-hitting film because of the ending. At the beginning, I didn't mind the killing of McDermott because he was such an awful person. There is no excuse for selling people drugs that aren't actually drugs. It's the sort of thing that gives drug-dealers a bad name. So, when he is killed, we feel for Patrick's character and hope he can get away with it. When we meet Boyle, his character is so unappealing that I found him funny and I enjoyed the friendship that formed between him and Patrick. Indeed, it becomes a sort of buddy-buddy movie especially once they go into the hippie world of drugs and orgies. It's great watching them join in and get involved. And they enjoy it. The film has many funny moments as we follow them on their journey.
However, just as at the film's beginning with the drug dealer, the hippies are portrayed as nasty characters who steal and cheat and pimp out their girls. This is what ultimately leads to the powerful end sequence where Boyle and Patrick take things into their own hands. Are they so unjustified in their actions? Well, maybe they go a little too far but I suspect that what we find so offensive about this film isn't the opinions of Boyle's character. It's the fact that we are secretly on his side and we don't want to admit it.
I don't have a bad opinion of hippies and certainly not in the context of the times. I do, however, have a problem with drug dealers who rip you off and the stealing vermin who are portrayed in this film. Is Boyle doing mankind a service?