Monday, April 03, 2006

Escape From New York

Avco-Embassy Productions
Director: John Carpenter
Length: 99 min.
Country: USA
Format: DVD
Date Viewed: 20 March, 2006

Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken is another one of the great anti-heroes in cinema history. Russell and director Carpenter (near the height of his peak in 1981) both believe that some men truly are islands, and this shared notion led to creation and perfection of the Plissken character. He wanders around a gorgeously dystopian New York (which looks amazing, even on a $5-6 million budget), not giving a fuck about anyone or anything unless it helps him find the President and get the microscopic explosives neutralized (even to the point of allowing-through-inaction a rape to happen in a controversial but altogether necessary scene).

This keeps Plissken and the film moving at all costs, which leads to the film's one major flaw of not fully developing the fascinating world that was created. We only get fragments of life inside the prison which leave us begging for more, but not necessarily in the good sense of the phrase.

But regardless, there's much here to like: the fine performances, the interesting politics of the script, the amazing Joe Alves production design, the typically outstanding cinematography from Dean Cundy, the perfect-for-the-film Carpenter score, and the excellent analog special effects.

If you're a fan of dystopian nightmares like I am, this film is definitely for you.


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