I started with a top 10 list and decided what the hell lets see how far I can go. Top…
To Live and Die in L.A.
The director of "The French Connection" is on the streets again!
A Secret Service agent becomes obsessed with tracking down a notorious and dangerous Los Angeles counterfeitor.
"Guess what? Uncle Sam don't give a shit about your expenses. You want bread, fuck a baker."
Removed from the partnering of the other stylish cop picture featuring William Petersen (Manhunter) and whatever feeling you have about Wang Chung (it's probably wrong), this sleaze jam is as deserving of the praise now being bestowed on the first film in tonight's Friedkin double bill: Sorcerer.
Friedkin's continual fascination of the internal struggle between good & evil roars through the grimy & steamy haze of Los Angeles. Petersen's Richard Chance is a thrill junkie, stretching each case, bust, and interpersonal relationship to a breaking point; his nemesis, Willem Dafoe's Rick Masters is an icy artist/counterfeiter who never makes a false move. The image of…
Wang Chung: a Chinese expression roughly translating to, "Impose your nihilistic world-view on a cliché-ridden 80s law enforcement procedural, punch-it up with shocking, arthouse cutting and artful use of sound."
Dafoe: Belgian-Congolese for "the foe"
William Petersen: who's he again?
Friedkin car chases > other car chases, because in a Friedkin film everyone's already careening wildly toward death; cars let them do it even faster.
It's taken me a while to get around to watching William Friedkin's L.A. set thriller. It started when I bought a DVD at a bargain basement store and got it home to find it was region 1. Eventually when I did find a copy it was scratched and kept sticking, so I reckoned I was cursed and destined to never to see it. However when another copy fell into my lap, it was fortunately third time lucky.
William Petersen may well have found real celebrity status as Gil Grissom on the universally popular CSI, but he did make some interesting films back in the eighties. Both this and Michael Mann's Manhunter gained cult status as being just that little bit…
Seeing this right after Sorcerer really makes it clear how different a career William Friedkin had in the 80s from what he was doing a decade earlier - this is pure commercial pulp, not just invoking the cliches of the genre but shouting them at the top of its lungs, but as commercial pulp goes it's pretty great. Brutal violence and neon-bright colors have pretty much equal pop, and there's nothing commercial about that ending, nor about Friedkin's still-intact refusal to believe in heroes and villains, even in a story about a hero chasing down a villain.
To Live and Die in L.A. is William Friedkin's hardboiled crime noir about corruption & survival in the city of no angels. In the 80s, William L. Petersen was the sharpest looking badass cop since Dirty Harry. With his shirts left half open & kick ass leather jacket, he's one suave rebel. Willem Dafoe's villain is money in the bank, literally, as a counterfeiter. Sergio Leone once said that Dafoe had the face of a killer. I agree, his offbeat looks & heavily mannered voice make him perfect for playing villains. As far as sleazy cronies go, take your pick. Dean Stockwell as a devious lawyer & John Turturro brilliantly playing an incarcerated henchman. Only Friedkin could direct the 2nd best car chase ever…
The French Connection set in the 80's... with a few minor changes and some cheesy music.
French Connection sólo que con personajes en vez de fichas de ajedrez. Lo que Friedkin dejaba intuir en los últimos minutos sobre Popeye le da aquí tratamiento personalizado. En algún aspecto diría que es mejor que el título de 1971 (hay una secuencia de persecución extraordinaria que no tiene nada que envidiar a la anterior y en la que los inquisidores salen como de la nada en cada esquina), pero es una lástima que tenga un final tan débil (el destino de Petersen debe ser así, pero pongo en duda el cómo).
This is nowhere near a "good" movie. The characters are either cliche or underdeveloped or both. The dialogue is cringeworthy. The plot is basically a throwaway. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The Wang Chung soundtrack, Muller's terrific cinematography, Friedkin's earnest direction. It just all worked for me despite the obvious shortcomings.
Also, Willem Dafoe really likes being naked, doesn't he?
Hmm didn’t like it as much as I used to. I love me some Friedkin and 80s style trumps a lot in my book when done well, but the advancement of the plot feels clumsy at times and the acting and character work isn’t good enough to sell the cliches. Some really cool scenes though, that chase of course and the fiery end (heightened by great sound design). Epilogue is random and falls flat.
Great movie with an horrible epilogue, that I'm willing to put aside. Great car chase scene.
Really competing with sorcerer as Friedkin's best film. Wow plot kept turning and never slowed down. The whole story is in your face throughout the film.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
William Friedkin has a strong group of films, spreading from then 70s to even our current decade. One of his lesser talked about films in my eyes is deserving of just as much praise and discourse, and that film is To Live and Die in L.A.
Friedkin, especially in The French Connection, is interested in looking at our concepts of morality, and how those we should rely on as beacons of light are just as bad as those that threaten our safety and ways of life. Our protagonist, aptly named Chance (William Petersen), chases Masters, who killed his aging partner (like Danny Glover, who is too old for this shit). Masters is played by Willem Dafoe, and his job is…
- Once Upon a Time in the West
- Assault on Precinct 13
- The Good, The Bad, The Weird
- Down by Law
- Hard Boiled
- Out of the Past
- The Maltese Falcon
- Touch of Evil
- About Last Night...
- The Accidental Tourist
- Across the Universe
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.