Easy Rider seems to start out just like any Hollywood movie. An establishing shot of a Mexican ranch house, and sequential shots of the area and the people there. Wyatt and Billy snort cocaine with the head honcho of the ranch. Then they bought a substantial amount of cocaine and headed out to flip it with their connection, whom is closely protected by a body-guard. After they get their money, they ride away to the highway. The movie changes from a classic Hollywood narrative structure when they pull over on the road and Wyatt drops his watch on the ground and rides away, symbolizing he is free from time and about to start his journey. Wyatt and Billy aren’t sure where they are going, and like them, the audience is unsure of where this movie is going.
“If "Easy Rider" had continued in the vein of its opening scenes, it's a good question whether anyone would remember it today. The film comes alive with the electrifying entry of the Jack Nicholson character, a lawyer named George Hanson whom they meet in a jail cell.” (Ebert)
Things that set this apart from Hollywood studio films are the fact that it was not made in a studio; it was shot in real locations and employed natural lighting as a key element. The film spans the lovely American landscapes of the canyons, nature and long highways that they travel by. There are nature montages, showing what the men saw on their freedom trip across the country. In one of the first scenes, lit by night-lightt, the men try to get a room at a hotel but they are declined entry. Also at night, during the campfire scenes, the natural firelight is realistic. The firelight can emphasize how dark it can be like when George is beat up in the night, there is barely any light to tell what’s going on and who is there. The use of natural lens flares is also prevalent, like in the barn at the commune and during certain riding scenes.
One traditional studio element is also not present. For the lack of a score made for the...