In fact, I'll be kicking off Friedkin Friday with a review of the notorious Cruising, a much-reviled film about an undercover cop (Al Pacino) frequenting the Big Apple's gay leather bars (of the pre-AIDS era) in search of a serial killer. If you haven't seen the film yet, queue it, watch it and get on board. Seriously, I'd love to have the readership here join me in gazing back at Friedkin's impressive, controversial and colorful film oeuvre, so pick up any of these titles and start thinking about what makes a Friedkin film unique or special.
I know that for me, I appreciate the almost documentary-style approach Friedkin adopts in key scenes. Remember Regan's visit to the hospital in The Exorcist? Or the close-up montage of the counterfeiting process in To Live and Die in L.A.? The attention to detail is amazing; as is the feeling "you are there."
Also, Friedkin boasts the nickname "Hurricane Billy," and this is appropriate since his films do frequently hit you like a hurricane, especially in the meticulously-constructed action sequences. The sheer audacity, complexity, and pace of the highway car chase in To Live and Die in L.A. pops to mind, but I could be making the same claim for The French Connection.
I also appreciate Friedkin's attention to detail and accuracy, whether he's making a film about counterfeiting or the leather fetish scene. He's remarkable at capturing the vibe of a place: a city, a night-club, Iraq even. Furthermore, Friedkin's films feature a deep-seated sense of moral ambiguity (some might say cynicism or pessimism) that I find fascinating to watch (and again, that may go back to his history as a documentarian).
What leaps to mind when you think of a Friedkin film? I'd love to see your comments. But definitely tune in here Friday for a review of Cruising.