Escape from New York

Escape from New York ★★★★½

My favourite John Carpenter film. Such an original blend of so many great things, like Mad Max in the city. It oozes atmosphere and grunge, the streets of Manhatten look gorgeously run down, bathed in sickly green light as Snake saunters along looking for President Donald Pleasance to Carpenter's synthy score.

Kurt Russel is cool as ice as Snake Plissken, a quintessential anti hero who doesn't give a fuck about countries or borders, and is only really out to save his own skin, though has a sense of roguish honour beneath the surface. Perfectly cast.

We follow him on a steady journey into the hellhole of New York, with him every cautious step of the way as he encounters gangs and other quirky delinquents that are either going to be a help or a hinderance. There's tension from the get go, he's only got 22 hours to rescue the President for Police Commissioner Lee Van Cleef, or tiny bombs in his head will explode. Just a great set up, so simple and so good.

By the end it's so excruciatingly tense as Snake limps desperately to get the bombs neutralised with only seconds to go, by this point you are completely invested in this perfectly crafted and subtle masterpiece of dystopia that you can't believe Snake pulled it off, or that the story is over.