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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on October 7, 2014
I had heard lots about this movie, and was very interested in seeing it. Mainly for the disturbing content, and the fact that a young Al Pacino was smack dab in the middle of it. On a whole, I thought this movie was fairly boring. Lots of scenes of men walking down the street very fast. I understand that when this movie came out (no pun intended), it was way before the gay community was accepted as it is today. Especially gay leather bars. Pretty risqué content, for 1980. Nowadays, not so shocking. Except for one particular scene that made my eyes widen. I won't give anything away, but those who have seen it know what I'm talking about. All in all, I thought this movie was ok.
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on August 30, 1999
This movie is not bad. If you are offended by Will & Grace, or semi-grisly thrillers than it just isn't for you.
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!
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on July 24, 1999
While this film was extremely controversial and a complete critical failure when released in 1980, it would be recognized today as a very brave and adventurous film. After hearing so much about it, I had to see it, and it wasn't all that bad. The script is not that great, and the film's depiction of homosexuals is offensive and offputting, but Pacino and Sorvino turn in fairly solid performances. The film has a dark, gritty feel to it, which adds to the eerie feel of the production. Trust me, there's worse films out there. "Armageddon," for example.
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on February 5, 2008
This is one of Friedkin's best and probably most controversial movie(because of its depiction of the underground gay society in the 70s).

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...).
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on June 24, 2002
It's not hard to tell that Cruising is from the director of The French Connection and The Exorcist. On the French Connection side of the cinematic coin, Cruising has the same documentary like and gritty, urban noir texture. On the other it has The Exorcist's blunt edged shock tactics, shoving unsettling imagery in the viewers face at every opportunity to do so.
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.
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on February 28, 2002
A BRILLIANT vison by William Friedkin, equally enhanced by Al Pacino's naive cop on the beat, searching for an eluisive and brutal serial killer amidst the shadows of New York's 'alternate life styles' circa 1980. This much maligned movie is one of Mr. Friedkin's finest excursions into forbidden territory.
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!]
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on January 19, 2002
I saw a profile of Al Pacino on the Biography channel recently and those who were close to him said that in the late 1970's Pacino was anxious to make a movie that was uncommercial and controversial. This he succeded in doing with "Cruising." Unfortunately, it is not only uncommercial and controversial - it is bad. Somehow I can't get past the idea of Michael Corleone playing a leather daddy - and Pacino's near-afro hairstyle in this movie is but one more of the implausible twists. The gay community was outraged at their portrayal in this film - as well they should be. Gay men are seen as sick, demented, sex-crazed maniacs and Director William Freidkin gives us way too much information, including the hidden meanings of various colored bandana's (I've never wore one at the gym since) and a scene that depicts "fisting" (ouch!) Al Pacino's performance, given like he is under hypnosis, does'nt help the uninspiring script and I had trouble figuring out "who done it." After watching this violent, homophobic mess, I felt dirty and disgusted.
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on May 22, 2001
It is really bizarre watch one of the Corleones playing a leather daddy - but that's just what Pacino does (has he ever played any other part in all the films he's made?). But what is more bizarre is that this film was ever green lighted. It is based on a book that had to have been better than the tripe here. I've seen this movie several times; each time hoping that I will actually be able to figure out "who done it". Friedkin, who is typically an excellent director, leaves the ending open for question (in my opinion) and as such confuses the viewer. I have read that Friedkin did this on purpose, but I don't know why. When I want to watch a mystery film, I expect to have some resolution at the end. This films doesn't provide me with that satisfaction.
Further, this is a VERY violent and repugnant film, depicting a small segment of the gay community, but the casual viewer isn't aware of that fact. It's a dark, depressing, and angry film that seems to not know what it wants to say or how to say it.
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on July 18, 2000
Friedkin does a good job at setting up eerie urban settings and he made good use of it in this film. First off, this is a great police/detective movie that has you guessing and wondering the whole way through. Paul Sorvino and Al Pacino hit it off great as the grizzled veteran Captain and rookie policeman. Pacino is given the role of attracting this killer and throughout the movie we are drawn into how his assignment is affecting him. The brutal serial killings are shocking and prove that this type of crime isn't just heterosexual. Real applause is deserved for this is real police work portrayed here; trouble in the sub-communities/cultures of a big city. I didn't feel this film mocked the gay lifestyle in any way. It merely showed us a small segment of a group of people that don't have mainstream tastes. This is a very graffic and powerful movie. It is not for the squeemish or close-minded. It does delivers a stark and truthful look about a part of life most of us know nothing about.
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on February 24, 2000
CRUISING, aside from all the hoopla over its representation of hardcore S&M gay underworld - a teeny fragment of gay society, is one of those cerebral detours for a commercial director. Unfortunately, Friedkin winds up talking to himself. It was obvious he was hinting that Pacino himself was struggling with latent desires, but I didn't care when it was all said and done. It's apparent that Friedkin was more hyped on creating a mixed-bag soundtrack of early 80s New York punk entries and ECM snatches by Barre Phillips and Ralph Towner, none of which fit very well into this choppy exercise. There's no moral excuse for the vivid depiction and sadistic sexualization of the film's first brutal stabbing; it's the most reprehensible and artistically irresponsible thing I've ever seen this side of a snuff movie. One can smell Friedkin getting a rise from setting up and lighting this 'fascist-erotica scene which equates penetration with repeated knife-weilding (not a breakthough thought) The whole thing left me feeling sad and sleazy, and the only other two films that have had that effect on me where the risible, pornographic 52 PICKUP, and the gutter-born I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. There's no point-of-view in CRUISING; it only succeeds as a disjointed cubist exercise in splicing together fragments from a very troubled production, and basting the end product in once cutting-edge pop and jazz cuts. Friedkin's a very talented fellow, so he can be excused this intellectual and emotional failure, as long as he doesn't make Part 2.
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