Cruising ★★★★★

The labyrinthine nature of the themes is what won me over on this rewatch. I never felt it was a bad movie like its reputation suggested, but now that I've seen what interested Friedkin in a few of his other films, I can totally understand what he was doing here and, yes, it was a bit ahead of its time and, yes, it also subverts the slasher trope of that era before it really turned into an era of imitators. The cinematography is always a bit overwhelmed by doorways and windows, and it kind of glides away from and into different themes that reach critical of the procedural; a subgenre Friedkin was damn great at.

Also, I now think this is my favorite Al Pacino performance. It's so fascinating. The places he has to go and the confusion he has to lay on the audience before pulling things back and keeping consistent everything that happened that we weren't aware of until the final reveal. The thin line between identity and performance has always been an area of interest for me, so this movie gives it to me through one of the greatest actors' finest and most hallucinatory of characterizations - pulling Pacino-isms into a kind of simmering self-constraint making the perfect match for Friedkin's brutal outbursts.

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