Cruising

"Very Good"

Cruising Review


Were it not set in the gay underworld of its era, 1980's Cruising would be a largely unremarkable film. But provocateur William Friedkin did set it in this underworld -- a seedy, sex-filled shocker than must have had audiences in tears -- and thus it has become a cult classic, almost notorious, really.

The story is, by and large, traditional serial killer fare: Someone is stabbing gay men to death, often in lewd situations. The NYPD captain (Paul Sorvino) sends in Steve Burns (Al Pacino) undercover to ferret out the killer. The straight-edge Steve learns all about gay culture, in which pocket to put bandanas to indicate your proclivities, and so on. But by and large he's just supposed to "go out there and find the killer." But the undercover activity takes its toll on his psyche, most notably in his (non-gay) relationship with Nancy (Karen Allen, virtually the only woman in the film at all).

In the end, the mystery will be revealed... maybe... and that's what frustrates so many people about the film. The ending is interpretable in at least three different ways, and that may get you talking about it, but it's unlikely anything will be resolved by it.

As with so many films, Pacino is the reason to watch the movie, there's no doubt about that. His performance is unforced and genuinely conflicted, even in scenes where he is asked to be slapped around (still undercover, mind you) during a police interrogation by a large black man in a jock strap and cowboy hat. No, you read that right. Friedkin is messing with you throughout this movie. He even messed with the actors: Karen Allen reportedly was only given pages of the scenes she was in, since she wasn't supposed to be aware of her boyfriend's undercover activities. Imagine when she saw the finished product...

Amazingly, Cruising is still unsettling even after far more explicit fare has been produced in recent years, and that's a testament to Friedkin's power to make you feel out of place through lurid camera angles and creepy lighting. It doesn't hurt to have so many people getting brutally stabbed to death, either. Friedkin's first cut was reportedly outright rejected by the MPAA.

Cruising may be more interesting as a film to argue (or complain) about than it is on its artistic merits, but it's still worth seeking out and seeing at least once... if only so you can have an opinion about whodunit yourself.

Friedkin offers a commentary track (expect little) along with a lengthy making-of featurette on the DVD release.



Cruising

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th February 1980

Distributed by: Warner Bros.

Production compaines: CiP - Europaische Treuhand AG, Lorimar Film Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 20

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Steve Burns, as Nancy Gates, as Capt. Edelson, Richard Cox as Stuart Richards, as Ted Bailey, as Patrolman DiSimone, Jay Acovone as Skip Lee, Randy Jurgensen as Det. Lefransky, as Dr. Rifkin

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.