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Al Pacino is no stranger to the role of tough, determined cops, as fans of Heat, Serpico and Sea of Love will attest. But in Cruising, he plunges into an even stormier sea as a New York policeman who infiltrates the lurid S&M subculture to trap a serial killer preying on gay men. William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection) directs (from his own screenplay adaptation of Gerald Walker's novel) this still-controversial, still-engrossing murder mystery that immerses audiences in a dangerous yet fascinating world. And Pacino's performance as a man whose identity and relationships are hauntingly affected by his assignment remains its magnetic centerpiece.
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Top Customer Reviews
It IS a pretty good thriller. As far as the gay controversy goes ... admit it guys... been there done that! Remember the Mineshaft and the Piers...or are you trying to forget! No, the whole gay community is not like that, but a enough was. Did you see picketers at Summer of Sam over Plato's Retreat?
Anyway ... not a bad thriller.
By the way .. sleaziest bits (not for the homophobic or queezy) Do an occassional freeze frame during the controverisial scenes ... Friedkin edited in REAL hard-core gay porn ... how the censors missed this one!
The story is deep and Friendkin's commentary sheds light to many vague areas of the movie. Also excellent is his commentary on how the movie was made which was very very very interesting and entertaining(especially on how Friedkin researched the movie by actually going to a Gay Leather Bar and dressing up in jocks, fortunately nobody hit on him...).
Body parts are found in the rivers around NYC while a serial killer is hacking up men that frequent hardcore S&M gay leather bars. Desperate to close two unsavory cases (and not caring whether they are truly linked or not) top cop Paul Sorvino sends in rookie Al Pacino (who fits the victim profile) to lure the killer out of the shadows. The case seems to have an effect on Pacino's character, but director William Friedkin is far too objective, letting the unsavory events unfold without allowing the viewer to become emotionally involved in them, so it all seems shock for shock's sake. This movie was extremely controverisal when first released and (judging from the polarized reviews here) still packs a powerful and unnerving punch. Recommended for those that want a dark and disturbing ride.
CAUSED quite a stir in pre-release; a disclaimer had to be added, BUT for that matter it could have been set in ANY 'world', although this one did mannage to jolt a few times ....
Yes, Pacino is the naive cop - slowly awakening to 'other' potentials in this cold-hearted world of the beautiful people. It's a strange trip, you never quite know who you might bump into along the way - straight or gay - it seems to be open season, as for 'casual sex' beware! BUT that was back then.....
NOT too explicit for its time - the editing is flawless [the opening seduction scene, the graphic, yet 'non-graphic' sex, [SUPERB EDITING] then the subsequent murder - somewhat reprised in Verhoven's 'Basic Instinct' - also caused quite a fuss - and a companion piece to this one].
The story falls apart when we find 'our killer' or is this intentional? Now, does the focus fall on Pacino and his girlfriend - Karen Allen - totally oblivious of her lover's change [maybe?] Wonderful and scary moment when Pacino is making love to Allen - proving ........?
AND the conclusion? All Studs and leather .....
BUT it's all quite tame, remember all of this is set pre-cybersex.
Would be fascinating to re-visit this theme along the computer-chip route.
Highly recommended for the uninitiated - but be warned - it can be quite a bumpy ride!
[PS - GREAT Soundtrack too!]
Most recent customer reviews
I first heard about cruising when I was watching a documentary on Al Pacino and I couldn't belive that I had never heard of it. Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by Danny Draper
I really liked this movie.My brother has it on vhs. I have all of Al Pacino's DVD's and would like to own this movie as well. Please release this one on DVD-I do not buy VHS. Read morePublished on Feb. 29 2004
It's hard to tell what William Friedkin is driving at in this grim tour of New York City's leathers bars. Read morePublished on May 3 2003 by Cody
Ultimately, this film generated far more controversy than it deserved. Let's face it, there are a lot of people, gay men included, into the S&M/leather subculture. Read morePublished on April 7 2003 by DonMac
THIS REVIEW IS FOR ADULTS ONLY! In the rape scene there are two quick subliminal shots after the killer with mirror glasses say "You made me do that!". Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2003 by James P. McDonald
Simply stated, Cruising looks like a serious career-killer for any filmmaker or actor. Try to imagine a major American director pulling this off today. Read morePublished on Sept. 8 2002 by N. P. Stathoulopoulos
After watching "The Celluloid Closet" I had to see this controversial film for myself. It was controversial because of the depiction of the leather/s&m aspect of gay life, but I... Read morePublished on May 19 2002 by Heather Mickler
An Undercover Cop (Oscar-Winner:Al Pacino), who Must Investigate the Underground Gay S&M Scene to Trap a Brutal Serial Killer. Read morePublished on April 17 2002 by Christian Pelchat