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William Friedkin's "Cruising"
Posted by Wisconsin Mark
on 8/30/2015, 7:54 am
A thought: William Friedkin's Cruising is a film where three of our recent preoccupations meet - roughie, neo-noir, and New York street film. I remember watching this film on video with a group of about six gay friends, all of us seeing it for the first time; of course, we were aware of the film's "homophobic" reputation. (It was the subject of protests while it was being filmed and when it was released.) In actually watching the movie, however, we were -- unanimously -- completely enthralled. It struck us all as an honest outsider's view of the leather subculture, filmed with considerable atmosphere and erotic charge.
Friedkin is a gifted director, but his career has been up and down. In his early career, 1967-1985, he made 11 generally good-to-great features (although I'm not too sure about the two heist comedies, The Brink's Job and Deal of the Century). Between 1986 and 2005, he made seven features and three TV movies, none of which have much of a reputation, but which probably merit a re-assessment. Then the consensus is that he returned to form with his two Tracy Letts adaptations, Bug and Killer Joe. I've seen the latter and it is painfully funny.