'Running,' Radicals and Critics

When Kevin Thomas reviewed "Running on Empty" upon its release, he described it as a "remarkable film" and a "superior achievement with superlative performances." And these words have been reappearing each Sunday in Calendar's listing of continuing movies.

Several weeks later, Charles Champlin gave us a mature and laudatory analysis that made it clear he understood the point of the story as well as the ambiguities and complexities in the characters--two of whom are former '60s political radicals in hiding from the FBI for years ("The Fullness of 'Running on Empty,' " Sept. 29).

Now, Sheila Benson--as if to set things right--tells us how phony the film is ("Political Films That Lack 20/20 Vision," Oct. 9).

What gives? Whom are we to believe? Is The Times critical fraternity schizophrenic?

Or is it that movies about people of the '60s inspire as much divisive feeling as did the people of the '60s?


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