Sorcerer

Sorcerer ★★★★½

This movie looks like it was a tremendous pain in the ass to make. Forget the fact that it's shot on multiple continents in several major cities, and includes a massive number of locals cast as extras who have to give very specific, powerful, emotional performances at times (all of them!) The centerpiece of this film is a sequence involving two (TWO!) large transport trucks having to travel across decaying South American rope bridges in the middle of a hellacious storm. Real, full-size trucks. Not CGI, not miniatures. Damn, Friedkin.

Despite bombing big time ($9 million worldwide on an over-budget $22 million production) during the summer of '77 when it had to compete against the likes of Smokey and the Bandit and some little arthouse picture called Star Wars, recent years have seen Sorcerer receiving a critical reevaluation that has resulted in it being branded something of an overlooked masterpiece, a reputation that's entirely deserved. This remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear tells the story of a career criminal from the US now on the run in South America (Roy Scheider) that ends up transporting explosives through the jungle on a borderline suicide mission, and it's some of William Friedkin's best work. The feel of the film walks the line between documentary (be it with shaky crowd-scene camerawork or sweltering jungle settings that feel real as hell) and highly-stylized nightmare (most of the last half-hour), and all paired with a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream that puts their more dark and organic 70's output to excellent use. This is a forgotten Thriller that should finally get its due.

And I bet you didn't even realize The Simpsons gave it a shout-out in the classic Mr. Plow episode, did you

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