A tricksy riff on genre filmmaking where one admires the tawdry chutzpah whilst not being engaged by it. The heavy gloom, articulated in dour shades of blue and heavy shadow, hardly lifts and the feeling of being stranded somewhere ambiguous and unsafe is strongly realised but ultimately depresses as most vicarious thrills do - all high and little substance. Nevertheless it has a rubbernecking appeal.
If there was ever a litmus test in mainstream cinema for the open-mindedness of straight men, this is certainly it. It's not just a bleak and depressing giallo-inspired horror film, but pulls no punches in its explicitness of gay male S&M subculture. Like Pacino's character, Cruising puts your comfort level in uncharted territories. Surely more confrontational in its subversion than Friedkin's The Exorcist for many.
4/10. CRUISING plays like a depiction of gay fetish culture as seen by a straight man. The seedy underground clubs never feel immersive--merely an attempt at shock value. Furthermore, the question at the center of the film--Pacino's character's questioning his sexuality--is so muted and played down so as to have been rendered frustratingly unreadable.
Tiny Pacino does the best he can with a leading character that lacks development: he was undercover for the job and for the audience, since I couldn't perceive whether he was genuinely disgusted or secretly tempted by what he saw cruising the hardcore gay underworld of NY city. The killer could have been more interesting too. However, jockstraps, leather clothes, sweat and deaths were enough to keep me entertained.
The underground gay subculture of New York City provides the backdrop for a series of murders and undercover policeman Al Pacino is expected to catch the killer. The performances and the photography are noteworthy, but Friedkin's maligned murder mystery isn't easy to decipher. Characters take on figurative meanings in Cruising—almost to the point of confusion—and by the end you're not entirely sure what's happened.
This movie was grim and depressing as hell. The production design and style really brings the horrific murder story to life and the acting, while a bit uneven, works as well. The depiction of the gay S&M-culture seems sad, desperate and volatile which probably is a sign of the times but in hindsight it feels highly speculative. Still the movie is interesting although flawed and ambigous in its plotting.
I think that at the time it was difficult not to see this as a representation of gay culture, because there weren't many balanced portrayals out there. Now it's easier to see it for what it was, which was just one aspect of the culture. This was back when Pacino was still an actor, and his performance is very nuanced.
It makes my mind melt to think about what the director's cut to this movie would be like. Apparently in buffing out an initial X-rating, they cut out 40 minutes of footage, which somehow got destroyed in the vault. As such, the plot doesn't come together. That being said, it's STILL an an amazing experience.
7 - I never let a film’s sociopolitical leanings have much of an impact on my opinion of it, but it must be said that the accusations of homophobia leveled at this piece are ridiculous; it’s an (exemplary, if troubled) 80s thriller, it thematically trades in sleaze pretty much by default, and it needs an oppressive tone to complement this. Nightlife, gay or straight, has a dark side, and Friedkin pulled no punches.
A+ Intense and shocking cinema like only master Friedkin can do. I really don't see anything not working well in this, it's psycholagically very effective as well as being superbly directed by Friedkin, who can film the vibe of a city like nobody else, and who went distance to shoot those club scenes and give them the real feel. I love the musical theme also.
Por encima de un filme detectivesco, "A la caza" es un filme sobre un detective descubriendo una nueva personalidad, una nueva vida, una nueva sexualidad. Friedkin es sugerente al momento de ir empujando a su protagonista a ese lado sórdido aunque provocador. La ley sin embargo parece siempre estar a la merced de ese circuito. Hay una dura crítica a la autoridad desde sus entrañas. Al Pacino en un magnífico papel.