Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 14. 1970
Zabriskie Point is trite, naive and incredibly pretentious. Antonioni is so earnestly spelling out a clished message that the film's world is one of simple dichotomy. Place a student (or Youth) on one side and Society on the other. Associate one with enlightened freedom and individual integrity and the other with repression and mindless materialism and you have the reason for this film's hollowness.
When the two leading characters are comfortably reduced to the abstraction of a sociologist, it is not surprising that they move and speak like puppets. Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin are given no chance to act (if they can). The dialogue they are given is embarrassingly clumsy.
Visually the film is impressive. Alfio Contini's photography makes full use of the space and emptiness of the desert and cloudless skies but many of the sequences are far too long. Elaborate architecture, magnificent landscapes and an explosive finale do not make a good movie.
However, I liked the scene where a cop stopped Daria in the desert to ask her where her car was. Her reply was suitably slick. He took his glasses off, stared at her, then very slowly looked around the horizon. He stared at her once again, then without saying a word got back in his car and drove away. Unfortunately I had to stay until the end.