Cruising ★★★★★

Falling somewhere between a slasher flick and a crime thriller, Cruising is certainly a film out there on its own. A raw skin-crawling descent into a sleazy underworld! Al Pacino stars as a cop who goes undercover in New York's gay scene because he looks a bit like the victims of a serial killer who has been doing the rounds. The first hour of the film is essentially a love letter to eighties gay clubs; sequences showcasing the punters of the establishments feel like footage from a documentary. The plot itself is all over the place - overwrought in some areas and severely underdeveloped in others. What exactly was the plan for Pacino's undercover mission? And why do the cops have a big black guy in a thong on hand to rough up suspects in police interviews? And more importantly, who cares? This is a grimey, sweaty, sleazy leather-clad descent into a subversive abyss where everyone is out only to satisfy their most basic instincts. It's clear from the outset - even the cops can't resist dipping their toes in the sleaze! Cruising presents a world undesirable in its formation but somehow attractive at the same time. By the time the climatic scene comes around, it isn't even clear exactly what is motivating our protagonist. It's subversive cinema at its best!

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