meandering, but enjoyable, "odd couple" plot takes a melodramatic turn
at the end, the film is an engrossing and delightful character study.
The meandering is not a negative in this instance; the mismatched
buddies are themselves drifters, wandering through their lives in search
of meaning and purpose. Very much a product of its times, Scarecrow
is dated, but not in a bad way. It comes across as a snapshot, both of
the mood of the country at the time and of the "free" style of
filmmaking that flourished briefly as new directors played with new
styles and new themes. Scarecrow
is not as consciously experimental as other works from the same period,
but its willingness to linger over the quirks and oddities of its two
main characters is fairly unusual. Jerry Schatzberg gives the proceedings a rueful atmosphere, helped immensely by Vilmos Zsigmond's evocative and subtly stunning cinematography. But the film's biggest asset is its cast. Gene Hackman and Al Pacino have rarely been better. Hackman
uses his curious combination of world weariness and hidden
explosiveness to very good effect, and, at times, he dominates the film.
sneaks up on the viewer more, turning in a performance that is more
nuanced and much less explosive than is usually his wont. It's a
remarkably fine piece of acting. The supporting cast is also quite good,
with especially notable work from Richard Lynch, Eileen Brennan and Penelope Allen.