Monday, October 23, 2006

[1980] CRUISING: Yeah--when your movie begins with the disclaimer "The film is not intended as an indictment of the homosexual world. It is set in one small segment of that world which is not meant to be representative of the whole"--you know you're in for a movie. I had no idea this movie was as controversial back in the day--this review says it is thought of as the Birth of the Nation for gay people. It's nowhere near that bad--the two most morally ambigous figures in the film are the "killer" (Friedkin makes it as ambiguous as possible as to who the killer actually was) and Pacino's character--an undercover cop operating in the world of gay clubs in order to root out a serial killer. A really shallow, politically motivated reading of the film would have you believing that Pacino is walking the line between heterosexuality (the good side) and homosexuality (bad, depraved, men in leather) but that's not really what's up there on the screen. I mean, from the beginning his relationship with his girlfriend (Karen Allen) is completely perfunctory--she's like a badge of his presumed hetero-ness and nothing more. And the killer (or killers) is never given a reason for their actions--just the Pee Wee Hermanesque line "You made me do that." There's some mucky flashback thrown in to sort of hint at a motivation of the killer--some obsessive nonsense about his father--but it's so incoherent it has to be intentional. Oh, and your climatic showdown is between two guys with knives in their boots and no pants on. Yeah. This is completely worth your while if you can get your hands on it (just don't ask me for a copy--I can't tell you how frustrating it is to watch a movie for the first time on CED. You know how dusty old records tend to skip? Same thing times ten with CEDs. I'd have to burn it ten times before I got a clean copy.) Oh, and here's somebody's, like, Master's thesis about the film. Warning: the phrase "Lacanian psychoanalysis" is used.

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