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Cisco Pike
USA 1972
Directed by B.L. Norton
Running time 95 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Ber
4 stars


This low budget movie about 70s drug sub-culture with early roles from H.D. Stanton and Gene Hackman along with appearances from Warhol starlets, Viva and Joy Bang, is redolent with post flower-power anti-establishmentarian cynicism and is in many ways a minor classic of the period. Although director Bill Norton pretty much disappeared into television directing after this, his first feature, it is a film with a distinctive style that looks forward to the ironic detachment of Iim Jarmusch and the kind of credibility of later thematically-related drug films such as Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy (1989).  

Kris Kristofferson is effective (his performance here apparently convinced Sam Peckinpah to cast him as Billy in Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, 1973 ) as Cisco Pike, a former big name singer who has fallen on hard times. Pike deals drugs despite the disapproval of his girlfriend (Karen Black) and this leads him into the clutches of a crooked  police sergeant, Leo Holland (Hackman). The story is however just the thread which holds writer-director Norton’s tableau of characters together and this is where the strength of the film lies. If this sense of observational realism interests you, Cisco Pike is a gem.

 

 

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