Sorcerer

Sorcerer ★★★★½

There's maybe five cumulative minutes of this movie where we get to see people living quiet, comfortable lives. The rest of the runtime is filled with depictions of humanity being chewed up by nature or by its own machinations (with most of those machinations being reducible to 'capitalism'). On that level, Sorcerer functions as the natural yin to The Exorcist's supernatural yang. It's all horror, and there's ultimately no escape (Friedkin seems to say). So cherish the hell out of that brief slow dance before your demise comes creeping 'round the corner.

An international assortment of men hiding from the law in Latin America take on the job of transporting a volatile load of dynamite over impossibly rough terrain, all for a little bit of money. Yes, on paper it very closely resembles Wages of Fear but, although my memory is vague (it's been half a lifetime since I saw Clouzot's film), this feels like a wildly different movie. Friedkin was theorized to have taken on this challenge partly in response to Coppola's concurrent filming of Apocalypse Now, and there's definitely a similarity between the two, with the forces of man and untamed wildernesses stripping these haunted wraiths to the bone as they plunge further into the abyss. And the viewer has a courtside seat, with the chaos of an untamed world consuming the frame and the astounding sound design filled with roars and howls as the elements gnaw at the last ragged edges of sanity. By the journey's end, all referents have eroded and we're left shuffling through the hallucinatory darkness and wondering what it was all for. No easy answers are offered, but this is nevertheless one helluva trip into an inescapable void.

Oh, P.S.: Sorcerer was the name given to one of the trucks. I had to actually look that up after I was done watching. Thanks for being needlessly obtuse, there, William.

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