Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. (1985)


I just ended up watching one of the grittiest thrillers of 80’s Hollywood mould with ample amount of action, twists and chase thrills to get you roll. Based on US secret service agent Gerald Petievich's novel, the film begins with an old and soon to retire American secret service agent's secret operation to nab the mastermind criminal counterfeiter who brutally shot him dead brutally and now his alive partner is turning the city upside down to legally nab that criminal known as Masters. What he didn’t know is the game, more lethal and dicey. William Friedkin, who gave us brilliant ‘The French Connection’, came back with another first rate, stylistic edge of your seat thriller is full of authentic action, on your face violence, perfect pace, fine performances and real moments of thrill and showdown.


William Peterson and Willem Dafoe played here the man on opposite sides and both of them done their job with fine control over their screen presence. It’s not exaggeration if I call Dafoe is Hollywood’s Kinski, especially after watching him here where he appears ditto to Kinski in look and his instinctive character playing. Where many well made thrillers falls flat and predictable in second half and cimax, this film works as real opposite. The highlight of the film is two brilliantly executed-shot sequences. The first one is whole printing process sequence of counterfeit US dollar. Friedkin achieved almost authentic feat here by involving a prisoner and the currency was so damn original that Friedkin and producer has to bear legal trouble from Treasury Department. The second one is one of the most chaotic and brilliantly executed car chase sequence I’ve ever seen in Hollywood film. Yes, for me it even outdid Friedkin’s earlier fantastic chase sequence of ‘The French Connection’. The sequence is eight minutes long with mind-blowing tactics of ground, superb camera angles, locations that ran from blind alley, under the bridge, over the bridge, riverbed basin, wrong side freeway with full traffic and above all railway tracks where the chase over cross even the running train! As per the available information that sequence took six weeks to shoot to make it real and authentic. Roby Muller’s camerawork surely deserves ovation!

This is a must watch material for all action-thrill fans.