Apparently started life as a Dirty Harry script but Clint thought it was too grim. I suppose the obvious reference point here is Cape Fear (either the original, which I'm yet to see, or the Scorsese remake released the same year as this), but the absurd lengths to which Lithgow's character goes to tormenting Denzel make it feel more like a super violent and nasty live-action Sideshow Bob episode. On that note, this is possibly Lithgow's best villain—no mean feat, considering his De Palma collaborations. Denzel goes joker mode.
Zoned out a little during some of the lengthy conversations, which at the time I attributed to the typical difficulties of adapting theatre for cinema. But as it ended, it became clear that even that arguable flaw reinforced the film's central theme. These people are all talk and no action.
Also, probably the finest implementation I've seen of denying the audience an expected star's presence. Naseeruddin Shah's eventual entrance will, I'm sure, remain burned in my mind for many years to come.
Prominently features songs from the Flashdance soundtrack?
An investigation of the ways in which the state enacts social control (primarily, hegemonic domination and mass surveillance); and a demonstration of how these must be reversed in order to utilise their revolutionary potential. Yes, it's about the revolutionary potential of belief (the logical political culmination of M Night's humanist, spiritual and metaphysical project up to this point), but it's also about the methods by which this revolution might be made to happen.
The middle act shows these methods of…