sorcerer - review

Sorcerer is a film from 1977 directed by William Friedkin. It was a critical and commercial bomb on release, and there seem to have been a few reasons for this.

For one that title doesn't really tell you much about the film; and given that Friedkin's last film four years previously was The Exorcist it's downright misleading. A title that perhaps nodded towards The French Connection would have been more apposite, if still inaccurate.

For another the New Hollywood was beginning to run out of steam. Certainly there are only a small number of serious, adult films still to come, a few of which have serious production troubles.

This is compounded by films and filmmakers that are often seen as part of new Hollywood, but in fact reflect a new commercial reality of thrill-ride cinema and tentpole movies were on the rise. Jaws dropped in the middle of the gap between The Exorcist and Sorcerer, and in 1977 the children's film Star Wars swept everything else aside.

There was reportedly bad word of mouth about the film; it opens with four (arguably five) prologues before you get to the meat of the film. Roy Scheider was interviewed as saying that he felt audiences weren't involved with the action or the protagonists. Which, while I disagree with it as a reason to dislike a film, in the coming world of manichean moral simplicity in films of the period makes sense.

So anyway, my review:


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