Five Easy Pieces 1970 ***

One of the less heralded items of Jack Nicholson’s celebrated 70’s career, Bob Rafelson’s freewheeling 1970 film sees the star in top form as non-conformist drifter Robert Dupea, who shuffles from one job to another while squandering his gift for playing the piano. One memorable scene sees Dupea getting out of a car in the back of a traffic jam and playing a piano loaded onto the back of a flatbed truck for the entertainment of his fellow motorists. Five Easy Pieces settles down when Dupea comes home and his family have their say about his lifestyle; it’s clear that Dupea’s intelligence and gifts are likely to be unrealized by his low-life lifestyle, but it’s also clear that he’s running from the responsibilities of an well-heeled family he find hard to love. A small-scale work, Five Easy Pieces now has an honest, uncontrived characters that makes it far less dated than the modish Easy Rider.


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