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Sorcerer


Sorcerer (1977)
Director: William Friedkin

This was a surprise. I thought it was going to be something completely different. First off I have to say that there's that unmistakable 1970's era level of sophistication that comes through with the staging and directing of this film. Lots of erratic zooms and handheld juxtapose static shots with deep lighting, brilliant use of natural light, and carefully (I think) planned color schemes in the overall scene design. The sound plays a big part, too, since the threading of sound is run underneath scenes in such a way to give a carpet like flooring for everything to just kind of exist on top of. Lots of need for that since this is essentially a collection of scenes that are very disjointed but eventually lead to the ultimate adventure.

There are amazingly nuanced scenes that act as transitions that roar with the sound of fire or shriek with some effect for awakening from a nightmare.

The mission to take four men from different parts of the world and have them take refuge in a place to be hand picked for a suicide mission transporting turned nitro is a very unique premise. I haven't seen "Wages of Fear" so I feel like that may explain some of my issues with the film on a story level, or perhaps, better yet, an editing level. One thing this film does not do is spell everything out for the viewer. I kept thinking at how lucky I was to have an american in there once in a while putting some ketchup on my fries in the way of exposition, because I sure as hell couldn't understand about 60% of the dialog recording, accents, or even some of the dialog itself.

None of the deep and visceral ruminations of any one character, especially Roy Scheider's, had me informed on what exactly I was holding onto. I did not know much back story, if any at all, and it seemed that when the madness montage would happen, I'd just be kind of scratching my head. The film looked really beautiful with most scenes in some exotic location - interiors sometimes looking more exotic, and Tangerine Dream's minimalist score was kind of neat (if underwhelming), but I just couldn't feel the weight that was so clearly trying to break through like the tires of those laboring trucks on the wood bridges, which, was some of the most intense action at a slow pace I have seen, wow!

Sorcerer is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Maybe that much I did get from the film. I felt like the animal that William Friedkin is as a director, and the team he composes to achieve his strong visual and rhythmic style, is enough to sell me that this is a masterpiece. However I also feel that this film is someone else's masterpiece. A masterpiece I may not quite fully understand, but a work of art I can at least glimpse at and feel from a considerable distance.

Me,...watching 'Sorcerer'.