Cruising ★★★★★

This is all about performance -- the leather, studs, and hankies acting as a homomasculine form of drag for the assorted killers, queers, sex workers, and cops who want the feeling of power and anonymity that it carries. It's not until Pacino is able to perform as a detective and as a gay man that he's able to catch the killer, if he even caught the right man.

It's weird rewatching this after having seen films like Born to Raise Hell and New York City Inferno, because Friedkin is so clearly drawing from the energy and visuals of those, crafting these intensely erotic scenes at the Ramrod and the Cockpit that are just about one insert shot away from being actual hardcore. I'm sure that someone could watch this and think it's overblown and unrealistic, but that's just kinda what that scene was like in the pre-AIDS era.

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