Sorcerer ★★★★★

Despite being a massive box office bomb that nearly derailed William Friedkin's career, Sorcerer is still a visceral, nerve-shredding thriller that ranks among the director's very best films. Easily, this has to be one of the strongest and best-made thrillers of the 70s thanks to how it manages to balance its themes of desperation, man vs. nature, and fate with an exquisite visual style and expertly crafted suspense. This is very much a film of two distinct halves yet both are excellent in their own ways, with the first brilliantly setting up the broken lives and hopeless situations of its four protagonists before hurtling them into a non-stop thrill ride in the second. Sorcerer manages to be captivating in both halves partially because it creates four genuinely great characters that we quickly understand and sympathize with, and also because they embody the themes of destiny and misery so well.

Also key to how well Sorcerer works is because of the casting for the four main characters, with every actor doing an amazing job at playing the desperate roles so well. Yet, the clear star of the movie has to be Friedkin himself since the direction of this film is some of the best of the decade. Every scene is inch-perfect, from the quiet, meditative tone of the first half to the explosive second, with this half demonstrating Friedkin's utter mastery at keeping the viewer at the edge of their seat through the beautiful visuals and maximum tension. The bridge sequence in particular is some of the best directed stuff you'll ever see and this really is a showcase of its director's immense talents, quite possibly being the best film of his I've seen yet. I'm glad that Sorcerer over the years has had a much more positive response and been re-evaluated as the masterpiece it is, since it is a breathtaking thriller that fully deserves the praise it's now garnered.

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