Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Last Detail

With the arrival of New Hollywood generation, a sense of cynicism became prevalent in the works from this time. It makes sense actually; with a senseless war raging on, the economy wasn't generally in the best of shape, and politics being like-minded with other events, it's no wonder such attitudes were channeled.

And Hal Ashby's The Last Detail particularly captures such a sensation. Being a post-Watergate release, it shows a disillusionment towards various establishments. And this was when baby boomers were beginning to rebel the previous generation's ideals so this just seemed like good timing for it.

Like what he did with Coming Home five years later, Ashby depicts an America just trying to carry on in life despite what's happening around them. They eat, they sleep, they have sex...just the general basics some people have and do on a regular basis. (It may not be much but it's how some stay connected to the world.)

Being made just a few years after Robert Altman found success with M*A*S*H, it's possible Ashby wanted to repeat those results with The Last Detail. After all, both are dark comedies with an ongoing war as its backdrop so it's not too much of a stretch. (The difference, of course, being which war was ensuing and where the military men were situated.)

Anyway, The Last Detail serves as a sort of timepiece for the era it hails from. This was a time where one's guard was generally lowered on a daily basis, again perhaps because of the collective embitterment from everyday life. And that's what stands out the most nearly forty-five years later: how the small joys in life aren't enough to combat reality.

My Rating: ****

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