Along for the Ride

Madness and redemption with one of the cinema’s greatest outlaws.

What are they going to say about Dennis Hopper? Are they going to say he was a kind man? He was a wise man? He had plans? He had wisdom? Bullshit, man! Hopper was out there, and Nick Ebeling’s Along for the Ride attempts to capture some of his wildness from the early ’70s through Hopper’s 2010 death via his Man Friday, Satya de la Manitou. De la Manitou traces Hopper’s career through his own recollections as well as through interviews with others who knew Hopper, including Wim Wenders, Dean Stockwell, and an appropriately disembodied David Lynch.

Much of the first act is taken up with the making and collapse of Hopper’s criminally under-distributed opus The Last Movie, when de la Manitou and Hopper first met, the editing of which was also covered in the 1971 documentary The American Dreamer. After that, the focus is on his time in the pre-rehab wilderness in the 1970s; Hopper’s 1980s comeback, by contrast, is largely sped through, represented by Blue Velvet and Colors. His Oscar-nominated performance in Hoosiers goes unmentioned, which would probably be fine by Hopper himself. Held together by a deliciously ominous score by Gemma Thompson and striking b&w cinematography, Along for the Ride isn’t the final word on Dennis Hopper, but it’s a fun trip.

Along for the Ride
Not rated.
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.

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