Sorcerer 1977 *****

With The French Connection and The Exorcist under his belt, William Friedkin was a front-runner in 70’s cinema, but the failure of Sorcerer, a big-budget version of French thriller The Wages of Fear, set his career back several notches. The troubled production is well detailed in Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, but the result has its adherents. After a lengthy 40 minute sequence setting up the backstories of the men charges with driving trucks of nitro-glycerine through dangerous South American countryside, Sorcerer settles down to a long, hard drive, with considerable tension derives from the obstacles set in the way of the delivery. Steve McQueen turned it down, but Roy Scheider provides a strong centre, and the on-location footage still sets a high-water mark for gutsy cinematic action.


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