directed by William Friedkin
(Universal, 1977)

Try to clear your mind of the fact that The Wages of Fear exists as a previous French movie. I've seen it and it's a great movie on its own merits. Would it be better if Sorcerer had not been made so that Wages would have its pristine place in the film pantheon? No, it would not.

I saw Sorcerer in a movie theater when it first came out (having seen and like director William Friedkin's two earlier films) and was knocked for a loop. I wonder how many of the critics today who disparage Sorcerer have only seen it on a TV screen. Because, I gotta tell you, some parts of this movie seen on the big screen are mind-blowing. Getting that truck (which just about has a personality of its own) across that rope bridge during what looks like a hurricane has to be one of the most intense moments in cinema history. What they pull off in that scene looks patently impossible -- and without a speck of CGI.

This is truly one of the great adventure movies.

The score by Tangerine Dream ("kings of the German synthesizer") is spellbinding. (For another great Dream-drenched movie, see Michael Mann's Thief.) And it has one of the late Roy Scheider's greatest performances.

review by
Dave Sturm

21 November 2009

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