The Last Movie | Chicago Reader

The Last Movie

The least that can be said for Dennis Hopper's 1971 drama is that no other studio-released film of the period is quite so formally audacious. After Easy Rider, Hopper was given carte blanche by Universal Pictures to make this disjointed epic in Peru; although it was given a special prize at the Venice film festival, the film was withdrawn from circulation in the U.S. after a couple of weeks and has rarely been screened since. After working in a western directed by Samuel Fuller (playing himself), during which one of the lead actors (Dean Stockwell) has been killed, an American stunt man (Hopper) remains behind with a Peruvian woman. He is eventually drafted into an imaginary movie being made by the Indian villagers and is also enlisted in a scheme to find gold in the mountains. The curious thing about this freewheeling allegory is that it is simultaneously about many things (the fakery of moviemaking, mutual exploitation, ugly Americans in the third world, Hopper as Jesus) and nothing at all.

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