Cruising

Cruising ★★★★

"You used to be able to play stickball on these streets."

"You're so evil."

Echoing the astute observations of Pate Duncan, Cruising mirrors the psychological descent of its protagonist in its film form, Friedkin's camera becoming more and more voyeuristic as the homoeroticism becomes more central to its narrative — Friedkin reaches peak mastery of the subverbal, taciturn cinema he approached with Sorcerer.

For all its visual mastery it does somewhat merit some criticism in its reactionary presentation, relying on the easy thriller trope of repressed queerness due to parental rejection having to manifest in phallic violence (if Psycho or Dressed to Kill, are transphobic, Cruising has no business being let off the hook). The film somewhat avoids this trap in its "ambiguity" of the killer's identity, letting the repression become more of a psychic force than a vector originating from Pacino's Officer Burns.

For all its thorniness, the greatest film about a man entering dissociative fugues as a result of sexual anxieties (apologies to Lost Highway).

8.8/10

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