Richard Lester Richard Schickel - Essay

Richard Schickel

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Petulia is a terrific movie, at once a sad and savage comment on the ways we waste our time, our money and ourselves in upper-middle-class America. It is a subject much trifled with in movies these days, but rarely—if ever—has it been tackled with the ferocious and ultimately purifying energy displayed in this highly moral, yet unmoralistic, film.

Its strength stems from two sources, the passionate intensity with which director Richard Lester fastens his camera's eye on the inanimate artifacts of our consumer culture and the complex, highly charged (but subtly controlled) style—rather like a mosaic set in very rapid motion—with which he presents his vision of a world where the thing is...

(The entire section is 711 words.)