I can't add too much to what Joe, Laird, or Sydney have wonderfully elucidated earlier.

Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls was for me, like a good bunch of people, a deep foray into the mad-cap world of "The New Hollywood." He editorializes Friedkin's globe-trotting production as this massive folly, endemic of the increasingly "out of touch" sentiment of auteur directors towards the end of the '70s. Arriving a week before Star Wars altered the landscape of American cinema, the tremendous international scope of Friedkin's epic resounds as the work of a director at the height of his powers. He's got the brass balls to aspire to the heights of Clouzot or Hitchcock while also injecting a dose of verité-centric modernity into his cinema; the effect lends an level of intimacy and immediacy to this otherwise omniscient point-of-view.

He grafts layers of intensely political & meditative skin on the skeleton of Clouzot's original, filling in the sparseness of The Wages of Fear with enough sweat, debris, and rain -- his use of twin helicopters for the dual bridge sequences earned him the nickname "Hurricane Billy" -- to make your goddamn head spin.

By the time we reach Roy Scheider receiving his lion's share of the reward, his spirit broken and decayed, the ensuing close-up hits a beautiful emotional note that's eclipsed by a synth-filled gut punch of a stinger. Maybe not the best first picture to start a three-movie day on, but holy shit it is not an experience that I'll soon forget.

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