Saturday, March 24, 2012

The E X O R C I S T

One of my all time favorite films, and always will be.

Like Citizen Kane, I watched this very late one night...
and it has stayed with me forever. Exorcist belongs not just to a different era in film, but to a very different time in North America. It's pretty hip to hate God these days, but not so much in 1973. Ours was a highly religious society 40 years ago, and this film suggested purely adult horror from a most frightening perspective.. not the end of the world "Damien" type of stuff but smaller, scarier, closer to home horror - real life, and real terror in places it never went before - the suggestion that evil not only exists, but can infiltrate our day-to-day human lives - It can get us - the real us out here.

The performances are 10's out of 10, and I'd be hard-pressed to pick the best chemistry..
Is it Father Karras and Chris MacNeil? Is it Kinderman and Karras ...a friendship I could watch a whole film about..
The scene with Ellen Burstyn chatting with Jason Miller ..she's at the end of her rope, and tries to subtly ask a question about exorcisms ...that moment - Karras' face in response ...brilliant.

I believe Karras' faithless-priest to be the anchor of the film - such a nuanced tightrope of a performance - just amazing.
Then there's Max Von Sydow. Love his European work  ..just one of those actors I'd watch do anything. A genius.

To be honest, the pitch throughout is so reality based it felt almost documentary style the first time watching. I adore these performances - it's such a pleasure to watch 70s movies when everyone in the film is a gifted actor, and Friedkin was an actor's director - one of the true greats of the best decade in film.

Like many of the truly great films of that era, Exorcist does actually keep getting better and better.

I truly believe this to be one of the best American films ever made, holding in it's two hours not just a brilliant story, but unmatched performances and a slice of life we will never see again.


Boy On A Bike said...
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Boy on a Bicycle said...

"it felt almost documentary style the first time watching"

Well no surprise there - previous to this, Friedkin was a documentary director, but you knew that, didn't you... ;-)

ArthurMacArthur said...

..but maybe I forgot..
That does explain a lot about his 70s style - French Connection has such an honest raw feel to it as well.
You, who are my original Film Yoda, are a very nice addition to the CRUISE.