Thursday, December 01, 2005

Film review #3 - The Trip

Film reviews return!

The Trip is a 1967 movie by Roger Corman. The plot is extremely slender -> Man is getting a divorce, takes LSD trip, experiences one hell of a night! The man in question is Peter Fonda, and he descends into underworld of Freaks from his day job as director of soulless TV commercials. Fonda arrives in this world wearing a sensible red sweater and straight brown trousers.

The film is prefaced with a cautionary message, explaining that The Trip is designed to "educate" on the dangers of LSD. Oh YES! The ensuing 90 minutes of mad visuals, bouncing breasts, dwarves, magic castles, and iguanas catching flies is indeed most educational. Once Fonda has ingested his heroic dose, he sits down with an annoying "spirit guide", a bearded man who seems to think the ideal place for your first trip is in a room with a flotation pool just deep enough to drown in, in a room that leads on to a balcony thousands of feet up on the side of a mountain.

The TRIP begins.

The film from here on is full of cutting, hundreds, thousands of cuts, (and some of it fast-cutting to point of pop-promo) to reflect the discontinuity, the mental processes, the visions, and the position of Fonda in "the real world" (more or less) during his experiences. There are two very exciting psychedelic sex scenes. There is one very cool nightclub freakout. There is a long long strand where Fonda is dressed as some kind of psychedelic pirate, white outfit, wing collar, medallion, chased by hooded figures on horseback, harrassed by a dwarf in medieval tunic and matching leggings. He is killed in numerous ways. He is placed on trial for his vacuous TV commercial-making life (and rightly concedes his guilt). After seeing vision of his spirit guide laying dead, he runs off into the city, stopping off to break into a house, watch Vietnam war on TV and drink milk with a sleepless little girl. This sparks more paranoia, as now the cops may be involved.

More and more psychedelic visuals. Sex. Resolution, of some kind.

Okay, now, why bother watching what sounds like a steaming pile? In its defence, there are some awesome 60s interiors, clothes, and freeform music here. There is also a loose loose structure that while it resonates doesn't impose much beyond the symbolic. This makes for a good experience, as the form of the film itself is a constant prod-prod to stop looking for linearity, to turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream. In this sense, the adventure becomes a meaningful exercise, the film a fountainhead of images, archetypes, rather than story. A brief bout of psychedelic mega-sex at the end and a climaxing of some aspects of the PIRATE STRAND, sees the hooded riders reveal themselves as other female points on the Love Triangle, the Fonda character "loving everyone" and experiencing the Joy of the Moment.

Conclusion -> Worthy of the eyes (all three of them)

*** Images not currently working on this site due to Scottish Goon Squad ***


Blogger Jim said...

Sounds like this might be an addition to my netflix list.

Thank you sir; keep up the good work.

2:02 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

it's paired with psych out on netflkix and is easier to find via Peter Fonda than by "The Trip"

also, race with the devil is good

6:29 PM  

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