The supposedly liberated and liberating vision of numerous naked couples writhing in the desert looks like a suburban bunch of clapped-out swingers as envisaged by Victoria Wood. And most tellingly, given that gay liberation was preparing to explode onto the socio-political scene, the couples are all heterosexual. Liberation my arse. And Rod Taylor's exploding house is revealed for the naff miniature it actually is if you check the clips of the finale posted on You Tube. DIre. But Mark Frechette was a gorgeous (and in real life doomed) cutie.
Time Out saysAntonioni's sorrowing, stranger's-eye view of modern America is sadly flawed by the way his 'story' (a rambling, jumbled and mumbling mess scripted by a variety of writers including Sam Shepard, Tonio Guerra and Claire Peploe) is bogged down in the mood of student revolt dogging the nation in the late '60s. Frechette, suspected of shooting a cop during a campus riot, steals a plane, meets Halprin, and makes love with her in Death Valley before returning to give himself up; she meanwhile goes off to meet prospective employer and capitalist pig Taylor. It's clear that the director's interest in America was less political than visual: the painted slogans and billboards seem important less for their content than for their appearance, just as the repeated metaphor of the desert is picturesque rather than telling. That said, the final explosion of a house and its contents in slow-motion is a dazzling, almost celebratory symbol of youthful dreams of ending consumerism.