Finally got around to watching William Friedkin's forgotten jungle-adventure SORCERER last night, and holy shit, what a film! THE FRENCH CONNECTION and THE EXORCIST got all the accolades, but this is the maverick auteur's true masterpiece.
Shot in five countries over the course of two grueling years, SORCERER is a heart-of-darkness film every bit as amazing as APOCALYPSE NOW or Herzog's AGUIRRE. Like those films, SORCERER's shoot was unimaginably arduous and difficult, pushing its director, cast and crew (not to mention its budget) to breaking point and beyond. The film's big show-stopper of a set piece - in which a pair of vintage trucks cross a perilously rotten wooden suspension bridge in monsoon like conditions - was shot in two countries, over the course of three months, costing a whopping 3 million bucks (crazy money at the time).
After all was said and done, SORCERER had the terrible misfortune to be released in 1977, a month after STAR WARS. In the wake of George Lucas' sci-fi juggernaut it was completely ignored at the box office, a disastrous flop. For a movie-going public freshly infatuated with light sabers and space battles, Friedkin's jungle opus was just too old-fashioned. Thank goodness that a recent restoration and critical reappraisal has finally given this incredible film the exposure and appreciation that it so rightfully deserves. Highly recommended viewing.