Busting ★★★★½

1974 Ranked
Physically Owned Films

Busting is incredible for a number of reasons.

1. The chemistry between Gould and Blake. Blake is intense as always, just stewing and brooding while Gould has always been the perfect sarcastic and forlorn hero.

2. Camerawork. Hyams is not kidding around here - he is putting a focus on the camera and wants you to know it. It isn't ostentatious, but more a tool to make you feel a part of the action. The car and foot chases are excellent, but the outdoor market sequence is something like you've never seen before. The reversal of the camera and the constant shuffling of extras really adds to the suspense, danger, and hopelessness of the situation.

3. Mirroring. The script and direction is quite interesting in the linkages it makes between the cops and the crooks. I'm sure there are more that will stand out when I revisit, but the superhero linkage is really bold in its execution. When Gould is punished and stakes out public toilets he reads Marvel comics to pass the time, and clearly wants to be super in his heroism. Meanwhile Rizzo sarcastically calls him a superhero in their tense interactions and the message gets passed along in a vicious beating. Simple stuff, but genre-elevating and well executed.

4. The ending. An absolutely dire 70's ending. Just perfect for the film and the character without the obvious happening.

Since the film is an early 70's gritty cop film, there are certainly problematic elements to it, particularly homophobia. That said, our protagonists aren't the real culprits - it is the rest of the police force. An important distinction when viewing, and an important differentiator between our protagonists and the rest of the 'good guys'.

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