Cruising (1980)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


Cruising (1980) Poster

A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men.


6.4/10
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  • Al Pacino and William Friedkin in Cruising (1980)
  • Karen Allen in Cruising (1980)
  • Cruising (1980)
  • Cruising (1980)
  • Al Pacino in Cruising (1980)
  • Karen Allen in Cruising (1980)

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13 July 1999 | rand-4
Controversial Document of Its Time
Viewed today, "Cruising" still elicits intense responses from both Gay and straight viewers alike. Mainstream Gays lament, as many protestors of the film at the time of its release, that it shows a homophobic image of Gay life, depecting them as sex-obsessed. Straights are put off by the frank look at the Gay sex "cruising" culture.

Interesting, however, some of the people involved in the Leather/SM subculture at the time this film was made have praised it for its accuracy of this particular lifestyle -- a pre-AIDS lifestyle concentrated on quick sex that was (and still is) pursued by a segment of the Gay community.

The film does not pretend to depict Gays as a whole. It is just a drama about a police investigation that uses the scene as a background and catalyst for an exploration into how one cop is affected by his work.

Not the greatest film ever made, but certainly a good springboard for discussion about the Gay community's politics, when one fully examines the controversy surrounding the film and the continued debate over public sex and body image in the community.

The strengths of "Cruising" are its use of locales and documentary-style cinematography, as well as the interesting performance from Paccino. In the end, it is hampered as a drama by problems with the narrative structure of the piece that seems to fizzle out in the last act, leading to an intriguing, but inconclusive, finish.

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