Like a lot of movies from the time, this is a bit of a mess. Its attempts at mixing genres and tones doesn’t always work, but more often than not it does.
The scene where Arkin confronts his wife is magical. I can’t help but think that if the tone had been ironed out just a little this would be a lot more highly regarded.
This is a tough watch, but a rewarding one. At first you aren’t sure if it is working – Gene Hackman’s character is the worst person ever and the problems are so foregrounded that it can be almost unbearable. But Ullman’s character balances that out, even if it is always slightly unclear why she endures it. Still, it is a complicated portrayal of marriage that at times feels like some kind of John Cassavetes/Western mashup, though probably two quiet of a film to fit in with either.That was the best passages, the quiet that sat heavy on everyone.