Sorcerer ★★★★½

Of course there was no reason to remake Wages of Fear, but Sorcerer gets my vote for the Best Unnecessary Remake of All Time. It’s an admittedly low bar, most suck, but this is almost perfect but for the delusion/drug vision sequence and the terrible title which makes it sound like an Exorcist sequel, both of which probably seemed like good ideas in 1977.

Friedkin introduces global politics into the formula with a powerful vérité Battle of Algeria Jerusalem opening. He builds on the themes that drove Treasure of the Sierra Madre: hot desperation and the economic principal that a asset is worthless until transported to a location where someone is willing to exchange hard currency for it. There are sequences in this film, for example the rickety bridge, which are shocking in their analogue realism to eyes now used to decades of digital trickery.

Friedkin’s goal was to make a grittier, more post-Peckinpah, film than Clouzot. He updates the worst-place-in-the-world first act by showing that the place is even worse in techniccolor. Watching the characters struggle with heat and sweat and mud and jungle, I’m guessing the filming of this was even grittier and more post-Peckinpah than Friedkin was counting on. I’m surprised there isn’t a great making-of documentary about Sorcerer because it must have been one of those miserable jungle shoots like Fitzcaraldo or Apocalypse Now

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