Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1980 - CRUSING, Al Pacino great performance but can't hold the film together

102Al Pacino an undercover cop looking for a serial killer in the gay S&M New York City scene of the late 1970's.  Pacino definitely goes for it and takes it out about as far as a big time Hollywood actor ever would in a role like this.

Cruising was directed by William Friedkin a notorious director.  Friedkin's films are pretty strong, he directed The French Connection and The Exorcist.  On the set he's tough on the actors and the crew.  For Cruising, Frieidkin also wrote the screenplay and that's where the film runs into big trouble.  The murder mystery becomes completely unfocused and the screenplay spins off in so many directions that it finally brings this interesting film down.

Friedkin has so many sub plots that he starts and drops, it finally harms the main focus of the film, the search for the serial killer.  It's almost like he couldn't stay focused on what he wanted his film to be. 

Pacino doesn't have any such problem, he builds his character of the sexually conflicted cop carefully from clueless undercover officer to a guy who starts to embrace the gay scene.

Friedkin and Pacino pushed the limits of this R rated film about as far as the general public could probably have actually handled it.  The film contains no real hard core stuff but also not a whole lot left to the imagination.  A sleazy film in many ways but there does seem to be an effort made to show the gay lifestyle in somewhat of a sympathetic light.

I have no idea if this is even a remotely realistic depiction of the gay bar scene in New York around the late 1970's,  but you have to give Al Pacino full credit for this great performance.  Pacino's acting in Cruising is a real contrast from his over top craziness as a cop in Heat.

102 minutes.

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