Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen, Richard Cox, Don Scardino
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 09/18/2007 Run time: 102 minutes
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One of my favorites
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 05/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've always enjoyed "Cruising", Billy Friedkin's opus on violence, male homosexuality, leather and all things bizarre. Right from that great line, "Have you ever been porked?" between stars Paul Sorvino and a fresh-faced Al Pacino, this film draws me in like few others.
While the police action and the chase mystery are interesting, what I enjoy most about this film is Pacino's transformation from all-American boy cop to undercover cop to feigning homosexuality in the leather underground of New York and the changes he goes through to get there. The script suggests he and girlfriend Karen Allen lose their love life in the process; how could they not? Try chaning your sexual orientation sometime for the focus of your job.
The scene between investigative chieftain Sorvino and his boss, who makes it clear to Paul that he either catches the killer by the time of the upcoming 1980 political convention or "I'll put someone in your seat who can do just that" adds an element or reality to the film, which straddles the line between fantasy and reality much of the time.
After being given the ultimatum, Sorvino turns up the heat on his undercover cop turning gay man, Pacino. In a touching and dramatic scene, Sorvino not only turns down Pacino's request to be released from the case, he hands him potential new leads and in effect says, "Catch this guy."
So, for me, this film is full of human realities and conflicts that make it a great film. This transcends the somewhat mundane material -- the norish police drama focused on catching a serial killer in the gay leather underground -- that makes it a compelling film about people and situations and how the two come together in art.
One thing I've never understood -- the ending. All seems well afterward, but is it? Does the tug in the harbor signal some rumbling beneath the surface? Or does this signal a return to normalcy for everyone. This is the kind of emotion Friedkin generated in all his films. Since no sequel was produced, I may go to my grave wondering about this. If so, I'll be pleased to watch this film another half-dozen or dozen times trying to piece this together."
Serial killer case becomes a nightmare for rookie cop
Chadwick H. Saxelid | Concord, CA United States | 06/24/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's not hard to tell that Cruising is from the director of The French Connection and The Exorcist. On the French Connection side of the cinematic coin, Cruising has the same documentary like and gritty, urban noir texture. On the other it has The Exorcist's blunt edged shock tactics, shoving unsettling imagery in the viewers face at every opportunity to do so.Body parts are found in the rivers around NYC while a serial killer is hacking up men that frequent hardcore S&M gay leather bars. Desperate to close two unsavory cases (and not caring whether they are truly linked or not) top cop Paul Sorvino sends in rookie Al Pacino (who fits the victim profile) to lure the killer out of the shadows. The case seems to have an effect on Pacino's character, but director William Friedkin is far too objective, letting the unsavory events unfold without allowing the viewer to become emotionally involved in them, so it all seems shock for shock's sake. This movie was extremely controverisal when first released and (judging from the polarized reviews here) still packs a powerful and unnerving punch. Recommended for those that want a dark and disturbing ride."
The Frames Are Still There!!!
Alex Honda | Los Angeles, CA USA | 09/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The CRUISING (DELUXE EDITITON) dvd has restored the movie and soundtrack, but doesn't add anything new. According to the film's director, William Friedkin, over 40-minutes of additional footage was cut from the original movie and has since disappeared. And though he would have liked to include the 40+-minutes on this dvd, Friedkin says that he feels that the movie is complete as is.
For those who aren't familiar with this movie, it's about a New York city cop (Pacino) who goes undercover in the S&M(Sado-masochism)/Leather subculture of the gay community looking for a serial killer who's targeting gay men. Even though he's a rookie, the cop is chosen for this assignment because he looks like most of the victims. The film is a gritty whodunnit and exposes an aspect of gay life that most will never see, and raises more questions than it answers. It can be very confusing at times and you never really know if the actual killer is caught; if the guy caught is the actual killer or if there's more than one.
For those who are familiar with CRUISING, I just like to say that the porn frames are still in it. I thought that they would take them out because of the dvd transfer, but they didn't, which is good. The film looks sharp and there are some graphic enhancements that I don't remember being on the original video, but it doesn't take away anything from the movie.
***Two featurettes that total about 45-minutes and include interviews with some of the actors from "Cruising," along with Friedkin (Pacino is not on it), which also talks about the controversy and backlash from the gay commmunity
Not nearly as bad as its reputation suggests
B. Wells | Florida | 10/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Back in 1980, this William Friedkin shocker caused such a controversy that it seemed that everyone condemned it. The gay community was in an uproar over "Cruising"'s frank display of male sexuality and what amounted for many to be the generalization of a "lurid" gay lifestyle depicted in the film. The religous community followed with their own uproar over many of the same issues (albeit for different reasons). The movie was further slammed by critics and audiences alike, who either found the film to be homphobic, dull, nasty, and/or overly sensational. Personally, I think that critics, in particular, were disappointed because they found "Cruising" to be a major step down from William Friedkin's previous hits ("The Exorcist" and "The French Connection"). However, after viewing the recently released DVD of the deluxe edition, I have to say that "Cruising" is not nearly as bad as it's reputation might suggest. First of all, as a gay man who was recently out and about in 1980, I don't think that the gay culture of the time is misrepresented here. Friedkin made the film shortly before the spectre of AIDS descended upon the community, and there was a wide open, hedonistic sexuality that seemed to be prevalent in every aspect of gay life. The homosexuality depicted in "Cruising" was in context with the reality of the times, regardless of what revisionists may proclaim. I remember being very disturbed, at the time, by the hypocrisy of gay leaders who wanted to deny the overt sexuality that was a fact of our existence.
Second of all, I don't find "Cruising" to be a dull film. While I don't find it to be erotic, or exciting in the tradition of other detective films of the time--there are no car chases ala "The French Connection"--I do think that it is an effective psychological thriller detailing one man's very dark journey into unknown territory, encompassing both his environment and his very heart and soul. Al Pacino is surprisingly good as Steve Burns, a plucky, green young cop selected by his superior officer (Paul Sorvino) to go undercover and track down a serial killer of gay men frequenting S&M clubs, parks, and sex shops. After his performances in the Godfather films, "Dog Day Afternoon", and "Serpico", among others, it's interesting to note that Pacino was able to bring the depth of believable naivete to his character; it makes the character's transformation all the more shocking. Paul Sorvino also delivers a first-rate performance as Pacino's boss, a longtime cop who always seems to be withholding something (information, concern, money). A pre-"Indiana Jones" Karen Allen is also on hand as Pacino's girlfriend, although her scene of primary impact is reserved for the final seconds of the film.
The quality of the deluxe edition is pristine, with the gorgeously restored cinematography suggesting that the film is of more recent vintage than 1980. Yet, the clothes, hairstyles, scenes of New York street life--all suggest a New York of another time, not so long ago, yet long gone, in so many ways.
I don't have any major problems with "Cruising", certainly not the ambiguous ending nor the fact that not all the loose ends are neatly tied up for the viewer. I actually prefer it that way, and it makes for a more interesting experience that is open to interpretation. And it's interesting that about half the people on the screen actually look like Pacino and there are scenes where you think that you're watching Pacino, only to discover that it's somebody else. And vice versa. And sometimes you're never 100% certain who you're watching. I think it's an interesting idea because it forces the viewer to come to his own conclusions, it doesn't offer easy answers. The same goes for the film's suggestion that there may be multiple killers--again, the viewer is forced (like the police at the end of the film) to draw his or her own conclusions. "Cruising" is, in may ways, a demanding film with characters that many may find disagreeable or downright unlikeable. I like "Cruising" because it does make you think and because it offers no apologies, no easy way out.