'Cruising - Deluxe Edition'
(Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, et al / DVD / R / (1980) 2007 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: A police detective goes undercover in the sleazy and underground gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer whom is murdering numerous gay men with S&M tactics.
DVD Verdict: 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. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes allwith the Special Features of:
2 New Featurettes