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THE LAST DETAIL

Director: HAL ASHBY

103 minutes| U.S.A.| 1973| Colour| 35mm


Two hardened U.S. navy officers (Jack Nicholson and Otis Young) are ordered to escort a naive young prisoner (Randy Quaid) who has been harshly sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted theft. As the trio journey from Norfolk, Virginia, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Nicholson’s foul-mouthed ‘Bad-Ass’ Buddusky is determined to give the timid youngster a crash-course in the liberating effects of drinking, brawling and whoring. For Nicholson, Buddusky is another in a long line of rebellious figures, from the lawyer in Easy Rider to the middle-class rebel in Five Easy Pieces. Although he’s part of a brilliant ensemble cast, this is very much Nicholson’s film; it’s a dazzling star turn from a great actor in his prime. Tightly constructed by director Hal Ashby and writer Robert Towne, The Last Detail is one of the funniest yet also one of the most cruelly revealing of 1970s American cinema’s odysseys in pursuit of a vanished freedom.

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