Sorcerer

Sorcerer ★★★★½

When I first watched The Wages of Fear back on the 13th of July, I mentioned that I wasn't interested in watching William Friedkin's adaptation of the novel of the same name. People on both Letterboxd and Instagram told me that I should give it a chance, as it was apparently very different from Henri-Georges Clouzot's film, and after liking The French Connection, I decided to give Sorcerer a shot. While it does have the same basic premise, Sorcerer is a lot grittier and more pessimistic than Clouzot's film, and it also contains completely different characters with different motivations and even some different set pieces. The volatility that Friedkin brought to The French Connection made its way to Sorcerer, and it not only adds to the movie's general sense of grimness and anger, but it also makes the suspenseful scenes even more effective than they were in The Wages of Fear. I also thought that giving the film a lush and rainy jungle setting rather than something more rocky and rugged gave Sorcerer a lot of personality, and the same can be said about Tangerine Dream's great score.

What's interesting about these movies is that they both take around an hour to get to properly get started, and while neither of these films' first hours are boring or unnecessary, I prefer the opening hour of Sorcerer by a long shot. Rather than starting off at the village, Sorcerer instead shows us the violence and bleakness of its world by giving us glimpses into how and why these characters ended up in a town in the middle of nowhere, and I thought that it was a terrific way of both setting up the plot and giving us a feel for the film and its world. If I could apologize to William Friedkin directly, I would, because Sorcerer is one of those rare cases where the American version of a movie is better than the original, even if the original is still fantastic.

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