by Ryland Walker Knight
[I've been having internet problems of late so this link-through is late, but, well, here we go...]
Sam Fuller's final Hollywood film is so not Hollywood all we can do is say, "Thanks." We have it here, now, in a beautiful new DVD, which I've looked at and then said a few things about over at The Auteurs Notebook. I didn't quite get to everything the movie made me think about, but I think some of the ideas about the phenomenological significance of the close up might be visible to the curious reader. In case that strain of argument is, in fact, buried deep: it's an immediate encounter we viewers cannot ignore, and Fuller never lets us forget this because these close ups often emerge after a zoom (as punctuation, as affective signpost) or a smash cut; the film is unabashedly directing your gaze; but there's nothing maudlin about this man's tears below. All that sentimentality is side-stepped by virtue of Fuller's low angle and looking up kino-eye and Ennio Morricone's meandering ivories and the utter gravity of something so absurd it has to be real; something like, you know, race hate. So if you didn't click that link up there click this one here and when you're done there, or in lieu of that, you might like to look at the images all in a stream-of-argument that says something else with the same materials.