Sorcerer ★★★★½

William Friedkin's Sorcerer improves upon the preceding adaptation of the novel The Wages of Fear in more ways than one, not least of which is the spellbinding score from Tangerine Dream. The main problem was that I didn't find it quite as memorable as its predecessor. Friedkin tightens up the story, tossing aside heavy politics and character introductions in favor of putting us right into the action sooner, rather than later. Getting rid of the expository prologue improves the pacing tremendously, matching the jarring tension that lines the entire journey.

Toning down on the controversy, Friedkin takes the audience on a psychologically torturous ride that follows the same basic plot structure as the original film and book. It became clear to me after some time that Friedkin didn't intend the film to contain any sort of homage to the original adaptation, but rather he had set out to do his own work. His style, obviously, greatly differs from Clouzot's, but more than that, his creation stands apart on its own. It's an absolutely fantastic film that doesn't require scrutiny against The Wages of Fear, but rather succeeds on its own merits. Friedkin is a masterful director who clearly puts love and passion into all of his films, and Sorcerer is certainly no exception to this rule.

Friedkin utilizes gorgeous color cinematography to bring this vibrant and colorful film to larger than life. The luscious green South American jungle is beautifully captured into Friedkin's camera, serving as an eye-popping backdrop to this suspenseful and intriguing tale. Tangerine Dream provides a trance-inducing soundtrack as well, giving a beat to the intense suspense that is experienced throughout the story.

Beautifully shot, immensely suspenseful, and gorgeously scored, Sorcerer is a film that doesn't require comparison to its predecessor. Roy Scheider matches Yves Montand's character to near perfection, and there are plenty of things to love about this adaptation that can't be found in Clouzot's original vision. Anything with Tangerine Dream couldn't possibly be that bad, as Sorcerer is just one of the films graced with their spellbinding scores. William Friedkin does the original novel justice in this adaptation, and he certainly doesn't choose to unnecessarily cut corners. It's a riveting and tense thrill ride that stands up on its own, tragically overshadowed at the time of its original release by some now-obsolete film known as Star Wars.

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