Dennis Hopper has had one of the more interesting and unusual career trajectories in Hollywood. Whilst he’s starred in over a hundred films, his success behind the camera has not been such plane sailing. After his directorial debut, Easy Rider, was a huge success, it looked like the world was his oyster. However, his follow-up, The Last Movie, was a critical and commercial flop. It was almost a decade later, almost by accident, that he made his next film, Out of the Blue.
Cebe (Linda Manz) idolises her father. Don Barnes (Hopper) is a fast-talking truck driver with a drink problem. After crashing his rig into the school bus, he’s been serving a lengthy prison sentence. No longer his little girl, she lives an unhappy life with her heroin-addicted waitress mother (Sharon Farrell), whose behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic. With the prospect of his imminent release, Cebe takes off into Vancouver’s punk scene to try and find her ‘people’.
Out of the Blue is a flawed yet intriguing drama which deals with a number of serious social issues in an unusual way. Hopper took a failed script and production and put his own spin on it, creating the best film you could hope for in the circumstances. It’s a role and plot written around Manz’s charismatic loud-mouth teen, and her performance is what makes Out of the Blue such a compelling and interesting piece of cinema.
The 4K restoration of Out of the Blue opens at New York City’s Metrograph on 17 November.