THE LAST MOVIE


R, 108 min, 1971

Director: Dennis Hopper
Writers: Dennis Hopper (story), Stewart Stern
Stars: Dennis Hopper, Stella Garcia, Julie Adams

Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie/Chincero is a film that takes thirty minutes to get through its first (and only) two title cards and – in a sense – as such, never really gets started. Forget anti-Westerns, this is an anti-movie.

Ironic that, since Hopper plays “Kansas,” a unit wrangler for a B-grade Western film shoot in Peru (under the “direction” of Samuel Fuller, playing himself – he of The Naked Kiss and Shock Corridor fame). “Kansas” refuses to leave the film’s Peruvian locations – even after the film crew has. He will live and die to bring cinema to Peru – much to his own eventual chagrin.

To the degree there’s a story: The locals begin taking part in ritualistic recreations of their interpretation of the film shoot and the local preacher insists that Hopper get involved in the ritual. This will not end well.

Hopper, who conceived of this “story” and directed, given carte blanche (and all the vanity that comes with), decided for reasons passing understanding to follow Easy Rider (1969), his “acid” biker/road movie with this “acidic” pulling back of the curtain on moviemaking, the demystification of Western mythos and Hopper’s own drug and drink-fueled post-60′s existential haze. Imagine then the disappointment that what lies behind the curtain is smoke & mirrors. 

Note: The film features a bevvy of unrecognizable cameos from Hopper co-horts such as Easy Rider’s Toni Basil and Peter Fonda, Henry Jaglom, musician Kris Kristofferson (who shows up both non-diagetically and seemingly on camera to sing “Me & Bobby McGee” several times for no apparent reason), John Phillip Law, Dean Stockwell, Russ Tamblyn and others.

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