Review of Scarecrow (1973)

Moving picture, 112 minutes

An ageing ex-con plans to start a car wash in contemporary Pittsburgh. Along the way there, he meets a sailor who’s been sending all his money to a woman he abandoned, and now the guy wants to see his kid for the first time.

Realist drama. As of 2007, when I’m writing this, I normally like realism, plots with few signs of artifice, self-destructive and well-rounded characters who have trouble emoting, and general quirkiness ending badly. This film has all of that and is undeniably a work of substantial craftsmanship and conscience. Yet it doesn’t really interest me, so it becomes an exercise in introspection instead of entertainment. Am I wrong about myself? Do the attractions I mentioned have little or nothing to do with what what I actually enjoy? Or is there something in this film which cancels out the attractions? It is very slow and studiously mundane, excepting a fairly heavy-handed symbolism, but that’s the worst properties of it I can think of.

moving picture fiction