Part of Criterions fantastic BBS Productions box set, The King Of Marvin Gardens stars Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern as estranged brothers David and Jason Staebler, who reunite in Atlantic City on the verge of Jason closing a real estate deal, and moving to Hawaii to make another deal. As David spends time with Jason and his girlfriends, Sally and Jessica (Ellen Burstyn and Julia Anne Robinson, respectively), they traverse the desolate frontier that is Atlantic City in the off season, all while trying to allude the police and the "associates" of Jason's business partner Lewis (Scatman Crothers), and figure out their places in a world that is changing around them.
While I felt like it was a little slow, Bob Rafelson's intimate character drama is excellently acted, with Nicholson, Burstyn, and Dern all standing out. You really get the sense of a group of people in their mid to late thirties who haven't really done a whole lot with their lives. Among each other, they are important, even if alone they aren't. The King Of Marvin Gardens is a great meditation on right and wrong, ambition, and facing reality.
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