Cruising ★★★

An interesting movie that might have interesting ideas behind the superficial serial killer plot — but in its execution, it’s really hard to tell if those ideas are deliberate or accidental.

One of its most pleasing qualities is Pacino’s character which, through both acting and writing, runs against stereotype. Typically, in a movie of this vintage involving a New York cop going undercover among this particular gay subculture, I’d expect a lot of personal conflict, or revulsion, or masculine posturing. Instead, Pacino is unexpectedly passive and (probably) curious. The latter is hard to say for sure. There’s nothing obvious to suggest he’s dabbling — but maybe he is.

Instead, the film falls back on familiar crime thriller tropes and seems unwilling to commit to the more sophisticated elements it tees up. It left me wondering what it was really trying to say to me. So while I’m fairly impressed this movie was made and released, it still seems like its punches were pulled.

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