Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★½

First time watching in a very long time. In fact, such a length of time had passed that I found myself constantly revelling in Spielberg’s zestful direction, finding each perfectly calculated plot point a genuine delight. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a triumph of blockbuster cinema; an exhilarating whirlwind of action sequences and impressive set pieces that cement its status as a piece of remarkable adventure cinema. A film that, fundamentally, uses location to its advantage. Whether that be the dense, luscious jungle of Peru where the silhouette of a man in a fedora - surveying the area in search of something - provides the ultimate introduction to the famous character; the quick moves of the bullwhip and the step into the light, masked by Williams’ immense score, is nothing short of a masterful piece of character work. But it doesn’t stop there: the barren and arid deserts of Cairo - concealing the secrets of the past - are filled with hidden artefacts and flawlessly provide an aura of age and history; the Ark is ancient, speculated about for generations, and the pursuit to find it is a swashbuckling adventure. With a film of this intensity, the pacing is essential. Raiders, for the most part, is brilliant; each set-piece flows seamlessly into another - a cascade of fleeting action, continuously evolving in short, brief specks. Even then, by the end (after the incredible chase sequence by car/truck), it feels a little too slow. It’s not noticeably bad, but it drags that little too much, just about into the realm that prevents me from handing it 5*. 

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