Cruising ★★★★★

A serial killer is targeting gay men in the S&M scene, so Al Pacino is sent undercover to investigate, in this thriller of controversy. There are aspects of the story that could be read into as offensive, but I think it’s actually way ahead of its time in that the leathery gay underground is merely the setting for a seedy New York murder thriller, and no overt statements are actually made about homosexuality one way or the other. It’s not exactly going to win over someone who’s homophobic, but it’s not trying to, and there’s something refreshing about a mainstream film showing men making out with, blowing, and fisting each other, with complete nonchalance. As for the quality of the film, you had me at “seedy New York murder thriller,” Friedkin. It’s fucking great, nicely unfolding the gritty mystery (which, once unfolded, is then ripped apart and scattered at the end), and exploring Pacino’s struggles with undercover life. It’s also got an awesome punk soundtrack, and without question, the most insane and incredible interrogation scene of all time.

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