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Review Cruising (1980)


In my search for everything Giallo I came across the title Cruising. Which sparked my interest immediately. Since I recognised it and knew Al Pacino was in it. I also was curious why Cruising, an American like Giallo was considered to be a lesser film in Al Pacino's repertoire. So naturally the most logical step was to simply watch the movie.

Cruising seems to have met with quite the controversy and after having seen it is understandable why that is.There are scenes where the extreme sides in the gay scene at that time (S&M gay bars) are shown. If heterosexuals were shown in the same light I think it would have caused just as much controversy. Essentially Cruising is a murder mystery. And together with Al Pacino (who is asked to go undercover since he looks similar to the victims) the viewer is hunting for the killer. Which is a thrilling but confusing affair. Not everything is what it seems. And that is so giallo. However where in most giallo's we are given a clear cut explanation for the events here the viewer is given an open ending with several possibilities. William Friedkin (director The French Connection, The Excorscist) has left the most important plot lines ambiguous. A lot is implied in subtle ways. And one of them would have been quite the shocker. (I read that Friedkin had to cut 40 minutes of film which contained twists and turns leading to that outcome.) Normally a little ambiguity can be effective to give an ending that edge. In Cruising it only leads to disappointment. Cruising is stylish and full of ambiance. But leaving essential plot lines open without showing scenes that give some certainty is a bit lazy if you ask me. Still it's never boring. And might even deserve multiple viewings. One to check if you can deal with open-endedness and some S&M extremities (which are suggested not explicit).

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