Sunday, October 16, 2016

Horrors of October - The Fury

The Fury (1978)

An ex-CIA agent (Kirk Douglas) searches for his kidnapped son after being burned by his protege (John Cassavetes). Venturing all over Chicago, he finds a lead in the form of a teenage girl (Amy Irving), whose undeveloped psychic powers can lead him to his goal. THE FURY is best known for one thing only: its explosive ending, which is still impressive after all these years. In order to be satisfied by the great coda, however, you have to sit through an impressively directed film that is unfortunately burden by an unwieldy script. Despite the best efforts by master auteur Brian De Palma, you can feel the clunky handling of the story by John Harris, who's adapting his own now and then forgettable novel. Instead of just focusing straight on Irving's plight, her mental instability and her accelerating abuse by scientists and unknown officials, we have to spend a good chunk of the film following Douglas and his comedic and violent thrills. The two protagonists take forever to eventually meet up and when they do, we are treated to a fantastic slow-motion action sequence (classic De Palma) but then only have 15 minutes of the film left. Though the actors all do a fine job making this a fun and dark adventure, save for the bland angsty Andrew Stevens as Douglas' son, it really is De Palma who deserves all the acclaim. He pulls his usual tricks of sweeping camera movements, deep focus shots, and ultra quick edits while also employing a few new ones, such as making great use out of fast one-shot pans on multiple targets. It's not a great follow-up to CARRIE, which must have caused him to receive a lot of scorn by contemporary critics, but it does have some worthy things to it beyond that great ending.


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