"Heaven has a road, but no one travels it; Hell has no gate, but men will bore through to get there."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009



In a role of subtlety that at times makes Scarface seem a bit banal, Al Pacino goes far beyond delivering in this 1980 film directed by Exorcist master William Friedkin... take a look at the trailer and the surreal popper snorting scene and then watch the movie. Watch it at least a few times, for while so nuanced and fluid it appears a fairly simple story, there are so many killers and so many personalities at work that one's head can't stop spinning and begins constantly questioning all the motivations at work. Filmed on location in the late '70s rough leatherclubs, bars and bookstores of a NYC West Side that has long since been vanquished by both plagues and time, it makes the most hardened wax for the time when freedom was really this free and not the watered down value we can barely cultivate today. While protested for equating homosexuality and violence by the nascent gay rights activists in the pre-AIDS era, it is actually a bold historical record and affirmation of those times. It is not in the least judgmental, and on the contrary, promotes the idea of people as people whether they be engaged, friends or homosexual lovers. The Pacino character speaks out against abusing people simply because of a label. In the true spirit of irony that wraps the film up like a dark bruised package, while considered by some to be exploitive, it is actually liberating far in advance of its time in ways that would not be seen coming to full fruition for twenty more years. Don't let the shallow arrogance of hindsight deprive you of the stunning depth of this film or make you dismiss its proactive relevance.


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