His follow-up to THE EXORCIST (1973), William Friedkin’s action/suspense film SORCERER was a troubled production and considered a misfire, but has rightfully gained a following over the years and is now resurrected to all its magnificence in a brand new Blu-Ray release that’s worth checking out.
Based on the same source material as Henri-Georges Clouzot’s THE WAGES OF FEAR (1953), SORCERER tells the story of four disparate men who find themselves in South America where they have all fled to in exile from their countries for nefarious reasons.
Nilo (Francisco Rabal) is a Mexican assassin; Kassem (Amidou) is an Arab terrorist; Victor (Bruno Cremer) has been charged with fraud by the Paris Stock Exchange; and Jackie (Roy Scheider) is an Irish gang member who is on the run from a rival mob boss.
Fate throws these four men together as they accept a suicidal assignment: Transport crates of leaky nitroglycerin through the treacherous jungle by truck in order to stop an oil refinery fire.
SORCERER is a true nail-biter and contains one of the most harrowing scenes ever captured on film. Achieved with all practical effects, the trucks have to make it across a rickety bridge that barely spans a raging river during a torrential rainstorm. The movie is worth watching just for this sequence.
A major complaint that was waged against the film was that none of the characters had redeeming qualities and the film was relentless in its nihilism. It was also considered too existential for many viewers. But like John Carpenter’s THE THING (1982) which came out in the wake of E.T. (1982), SORCERER was released around the same time as STAR WARS (1977) and it is felt that thesci-fi/fantasy film predisposed audiences to crave fun with their adventure, which SORCERER certainly was not.
Fortunately the film has been given a second chance and critics are re-evaluating their feelings about it and even heaping on praise for the film that was once a pariah. There’s no doubt that SORCERER is an exceptionally made film. Visually, it’s stunning and Friedkin obviously threw himself, heart and soul, into the making of the film.
I highly recommend checking out this hidden gem of a film in HD or on Blu-Ray. SORCERER is well worth the journey.
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