Director: HENRY JAGLOM
Producer: BERT SCHNEIDER, ELLIOT S. BLAIR, HOWARD ZUCKER, IRVING COHEN and TED SHAPIRO
A soldier (Dennis Hopper) returns from Vietnam on special assignment, accompanying the body of his friend by train to California for burial. During the trip, he falls in love with a gentle college student. But their relationship is shattered by his flashbacks to combat.
"Tracks" is a rather uneven film. The direction by Henry Jaglom is pretty pretentious. Its weighed down by a lot of the drug induced excess that was contained in many other socially aware pictures of the era. Some of the improvised and absurdest dialog is a bit annoying in this aspect. Still, the central theme of a veteran losing his grip with reality remains powerful and disturbing. And while some of the aspects of the production have dated, this aspect remains as effective as ever, especially in light of the Iraq war. "Tracks" is definitely one of those obscure flicks I'm overjoyed to discover. Just like "The Ninth Configuration" and "The Stunt Man", this is a positively amazing film that got screwed over by poor distribution and has yet to achieve the cult status it deserves.
Part of what makes this film so good is Dennis Hopper. He gives a remarkably low key portrayal of the protagonist, who remains sympathetic despite his increasing schizophrenia and anti-social behavior. He's absolutely perfect as a man losing all touch with reality. Its a very brave performance, and proves the man could act when he wanted to. This more than makes up for all the crap he's been in over the years.
The rest of the cast is pretty good as well, but this is Hopper's show through and through. Without him in the lead, the film wouldn't have the same effect. "Tracks" is an unfortunately overlooked film that is far from perfect, but in the end is an emotionally powerful experience. (8/10)
Starring: DENNIS HOPPER, DEAN STOCKWELL and TARYN POWER