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Sorcerer (Friedkin, 1977)


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Christian posted in the "What You are Watching this Weekend" thread about his plans to see this film this weekend. I saw it too with him and Victor. I didn't see a topic, "Ahem" me If needed. smile.png

 

Sorceror has a reputation on this forum (I think for a while a still from the film was Ba'al T'Shuvah's avatar?), and it lived up to the reputation-I was on the edge of my seat. However, afterwards I wasn't sure I liked its aftertaste.

 

It was calculated for effect, but the effects were often disparate and unearned. Consider the explosion that drives the rest of film (the act of terrorism in Columbia). We see in great detail the people being burned, and then later their charred corpses as impetus to mob violence. These scenes were effective in abstract, but as a part of a whole they don't seem to have added anything. After all, the people of the village were hardly humanized before or after. The closest thing was their turn as comic relief in the scene where they each successively fail to test drive the truck. Ultimately, their gruesome deaths in the explosion were seen, exploited and then forgotten.

 

That kind of exploitation seems to me to almost make a fetish of death, and the movie as a whole  doesn't have much of an understanding of life--ie of the reasons these men fight to live. The one person who really has a life (Victor, the Parisian) has it through his spouse, so it's his single-minded goal to get back to her. That leaves his story roughly on par with run-of-the-mill B-movie fare. It's not surprising, I think, that Friedkin resorts to his only real sour note when the American mobster is left on his own in the desert--his hallucinations are heavy-handed and lack the same cinematic grace as most of what came before.

 

When I was talking with Christian afterwards, I told him that the only other movie I'd seen which kept me as riveted on the survival story was The Great Escape. In the end, I think I appreciate that movie's accomplishments in terms of character development and patience more now that I've seen Sorceror.

Edited by David Smedberg

That's just how eye roll.

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Thanks, Tyler. I'm glad to see that the critic Christian quoted had a similar experience to mine.

Edited by David Smedberg

That's just how eye roll.

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Jeffrey Wells said there were major problems with the DCP version that he saw a week or two ago, but he didn't know if that was a reflection on the "restoration" or simply on the projector/projectionist.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Didn't have any problems with ours that were discernable to me, but keep in mind I hadn't seen it before so I didn't have a baseline to compare it with.

That's just how eye roll.

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Heh.

 

"It wasn’t my original title — but I couldn’t use my original title.” He had wanted to call it “Ballbreaker,” and the studio told him — not for the first time during the making of this film — that he was out of his mind.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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FYI regarding the recent Sorcerer DVD release.  From a review over at Parallax View...

 

The disc looks and sounds superb (the greens of the jungle look unnaturally overbright though it gives the ordeal a hallucinatory quality) but beware that Warner botched the DVD, producing it from an unrestored master, and Friedkin himself has warned buyers to wait until Warner comes out with a remastered DVD on June 10.

 

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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