Dragged Across Concrete ★★★★

I knew this would improve on a rewatch as this was bare none the worst screening I've logged on here. Played Fantasy Fest back in '19 against an audience which had neither the inclination nor the ability to chill at its pace plus projection thrice fucked up the aspect ratio. Will write very little and nothing new on the politics here as they are properly coordinated and certain boundaries be best set and compared to one's own taste to which I'll say that the only time I ever seriously considered turning exploitation off because of some moral issues was when me and my brother got high and watched A Serbian Film and I regret not following through ever since. Aside from this what will be interesting is how Zahler adjusts to a climate which isn't Cinestate -- rest in piss -- and how much of these provocations are tolerated to which extent.

What works here is what always works with Zahler - process split up and slowed down to incremental beats, lots of downtime in between and an earnestness to the melodrama. Was visibly disgusted that the audience back then laughed at the Jennifer Carpenter interlude when this is easily the best part, expanding the narrative for both empathy and excess. The draw here remains of course Gibson and while I have love for the man in my heart it is also clear that these are roles that he won't get much more as he slowly drifts down Willis lane towards DTV actioner cameos. Ridgeman is Gibson's filmography thought through towards its ideological end point and played with adamant stillness and hardened sadness.

Feel that all the regular comparisons -- Fuller especially -- don't quite match Zahler's style which is very easy to describe but even more easier felt. The way light here punctuates milieu, the way the static shots play for mood and not duration. Time is never an issue and jet always the variable everyone is most concerned with, draining the clock for every second left. I still love the dialogue. It's cadences and peculiarities. Reminds me of Milk in its need for oratory and embellishment but spoken towards more nihilistic ends and what's the worth of a language if it doesn't communicate.


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