To Live and Die in L.A.

To Live and Die in L.A.

"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 him bungeeing off a bridge may as well be a metaphor for the film itself: testing the bounds to which an audience can stay tethered to a crop of mostly loathsome and conniving people trading in counterfeit (social & monetary) currency. Even at times where the narrative sprawls to borderline incoherence, Friedkin throws an arresting image or idea on the wall -- Good Guy Partner Vukovich descending to "hell" -- and you bet your ass it sticks.

If you've seen it: this is better than how you remember; if you haven't seen it: track down the Blu Ray and watch it ASAP.

[Side note: Worth the price of admission for the implied three-way between Dafoe, his girl, and a sexed-up Daphne from Frasier. But will he know what to do with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs?]

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