John Cassavetes's 1974 masterpiece, and one of the best films of its decade. Cassavetes stretches the limits of his narrative—it's the story of a married couple, with the wife hedging into madness—to the point where it obliterates the narrator: it's one of those extremely rare movies that seem found rather than made, in which the internal dynamics of the drama are completely allowed to dictate the shape and structure of the film. The lurching, probing camera finds the same fascination in moments of high drama and utter triviality alike—and all of those moments are suspended painfully, endlessly. Still, Cassavetes makes the viewer's frustration work as part of the film's expressiveness; it has an emotional rhythm unlike anything else I've ever seen. With Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk.
By Dave Kehr