Tuesday, September 28, 2010


(Ed Hunt, 1978)
The ideas that animate this paranoia thriller might seem superficially more useful than Hunt's usual insights regarding spacemen or gangland reform, except as usual he beats them over the head with a cricket bat - the dangers of scientific careerism are ill-represented by the skittish incompetent with the prosthetic leg, the idiot hush campaign is strictly post-"Jaws" boilerplate, and the spectacularly abrupt shootout on the highway is a pretty vulgar argument against state repression. But my Canada includes vulgarity, and as usual Hunt makes it work in spite of himself. For all the cringing apologetics of the opening text, the man's ass-backwards world view is laid out with such conviction that nothing so banal as mere logic or taste can hold him back. So what if the special effects budget is limited to three exploding cars? With a bare minimum of dialogue, a desperate maximum of viral macrophotography, a few wriggling extras, and a central narrative that comprises four people watching each other on TV sets, Hunt manages to manufacture real momentum and engagement, and his characteristically able cast keeps a straight face this time.

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