Sorcerer (1977) 4.71/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 85.7
Genre: Adventure, Thriller
Duration: 121 mins
Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal

William Friedkin’s thunderous examination of human desperation is one of the best films of the 1970′s and a worthy adaptation to follow in the substantial footsteps of Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear. It follows a series of men who for different reasons (shown in the first 30 minutes of the film) end up hiding in the back end of the world in some nameless South American country where an oil company is building a pipeline. Desperation brought them there but desperation also drives each of them to want to escape the torturous way of life and lethal working conditions. When an oil well explodes four of them are given the opportunity to earn enough money to do just that. The only catch is they must drive two trucks loaded with unstable dynamite through 200 miles of the roughest terrain imaginable. Friedkin is in his element here and he captures the ferocious journey like few others could. He also takes his time in the buildup allowing us to become familiar but also unfamiliar with the four protagonists as the mystery within each of their characters deepens. Roy Scheider heads the cast in one of his finest performances as a former getaway driver and Bruno Cremer co-stars in an excellent turn as a French businessman on the run for fraud. On the technical front, John Box’s raw production design deserves special mention for managing so well to depict the sweaty squalor from which the four men are attempting to flee. Equally impressive is Tangerine Dream’s nightmare-like score which counts as one of their best and which Friedkin uses to sublime effect. Sorcerer is more of a visceral experience than a conceptual one and in that sense, it is a complete triumph. There are few films imbued with such passion and determination in terms of both the story it tells and the Herzogian like efforts that went into making it.

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6 thoughts on “Sorcerer (1977)”

    1. Thanks Jakub. Yes, I’m looking forward to that also especially since the copy I have is fairly grainy. I’ll definitely have a look at that Wikipedia page. Thanks.

  1. One question-why not mention this was a remake of The Wages Of Fear which was a far superior film? Dont get me wrong Sorcerer is good but it lacks a certain something that the original has. Visually this film is astonishing but it isnt as good as TWOF IMHO. Beyond that kudos on your usual concise and informative review.

    1. Sorry, only seeing this comment now. Can’t remember now, I suppose I just forget to mention it. As a side issue I don’t see subsequent adaptations of novels as remakes as such, just an alternative adaptation. Novels are fair gamegame for multiple revisits. Remakes of original screenplays however I cannot abide. Re: wages of fear, I agree it’s the better film but I think sorcerer has a lot to offer and it goes further in the atmosphere department IMO.

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