Monday, March 31, 2014

Amblin' (1968)

The short film that helped bring Steven Spielberg to the attention of Hollywood, AMBLIN' is a solid achievement at one level - well-photographed (Allen Daviau's cinematography of the Southwest locations is stunning at times), technically polished, and a good demonstration of Spielberg's ability to tell a story (about a young man who meets up with a hippie girl while hitch-hiking to the west coast). And yet, it also feels impersonal, lacking the kind of energy and invention that often mark filmmakers' best early works and that is even apparent in the extant clips from Spielberg's previous film, FIRELIGHT. Spielberg seems to lack conviction in the material, and as a result, the film feels empty - a well-made but undistinctive calling-card short.

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