Sorcerer

Sorcerer ★★★★★

Right, that's it, I've neglected the films of William Friedkin for too long. I've always loved The French Connection, and The Exorcist is one of the classiest horror films of all time, but Sorceror just absolutely knocked my socks off.

The moral of this story is, guess what, the universe does not give a flying fuck about you. Or anyone for that matter. It's a cruel, indifferent world, and if you think things can't get any worse, just remember: things can always get worse!

I'm making this sound like a grim and depressing film, but it's really not. It's just that the four key protagonists are painted in such loving detail, their crises and personal dilemmas are so convincingly crafted, that the ostensible premise (four desperate men choosing to drive sweating explosives across the Colombian jungle) really only takes up the second half of the film - the entire first half sets it all up. That would normally be frustrating, but in Sorceror it's just perfect.

Make no mistake - this movie will have you gripped and on the edge of your seat for the entire two-hour runtime. Despite the intricate detail, I honestly believe there's not a wasted shot or a single mis-framed scene.

And how the hell did Friedkin even manage to film this? The bridge scene alone is one of the most mind-bogglingly hazardous looking sequences I've ever seen. That's not to mention the oil well explosion, which makes you feel like you're actually being burnt to cinders.

Roy Scheider is a study of understated magnificence at the head of a cosmopolitan ensemble cast who together manage to speak volumes with so little actual dialogue. This feels like the true essence of cinema to me, and I'm pretty excited to finally realise what a master of the form Friedkin is - and I have so much more to see from him.

If you have the e-One blu-ray, although the special features are a little light, there is an extended interview of Friedkin by Nicholas Winding Refn about the film which is highly recommended. Although Refn comes across as an egotistical twit and is undeniably a fucking terrible interviewer (he barely waits to hear Friedkin's responses, to the point where Friedkin has to start talking over him and then basically starts taking the piss out of him to shut him up), it's such an incredible conversation to witness. Two great film-makers (although, despite Refn's constant declarations that he is the "younger version of you", Friedkin to me is very much the greater), who are obviously comfortable with each other, being incredibly honest. Best moment is when they're discussing how Sorceror was a misunderstood and rejected masterpiece in its day, and Refn compares it to Only God Forgives, which he maintains is a masterpiece. Friedkin's response (looking over his shoulder): "Medic! We need a doctor!" and then straight to Refn "You think that movie's a masterpiece? So what's Citizen Kane?!"

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