Category Archives: 1972

Movies released in 1972.

Review: Solaris (1972)

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Year: 1972
Score: 6.5/10

The Soviet Union certainly had a strange approach to wet t-shirt contests.

The Soviet Union certainly had a strange approach to wet t-shirt contests.

At 167 minutes and with a pace that makes it feel like twice that, Andrei Tarkovsky’s version of Stanisław Lem’s novel is a real slog to get through. It’s philosophical and psychological drama in the guise of a science fiction film, with a heavy dose of tragic love story (or, more accurately, an exploration of the human desire to recover lost love) thrown in too. There’s something haunting and hypnotic about it, in spite of or perhaps because of its confusing and mysterious nature. Given the sci-fi trappings, the lack of action – especially when amplified by the slow pace – is challenging to say the least. So, ultimately, is it moving and does it amount to a successful exploration of the deep questions and themes it attempts to tackle? I say no to the former, as the protagonist’s plight and the love story elements had little emotional impact on me, but mostly yes to the latter. In that regard I judge it a partial success. It’s boosted by a killer ending, one of those shocking final moments that force you to reevaluate much of what you’ve just seen. Random thought: the underlying love-conquers-science message must go down well with climate change deniers.

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Review: Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Director: Werner Herzog
Year: 1972
Score: 8/10

Haunting, strange, vivid and compelling. Many events, and also Herzog’s decisions about what to show us, seem inexplicable. The locations are quite incredible and lend the film such an air of reality; it’s often clear that we’re not just seeing these actors act, we’re seeing them experience the wild places Herzog has taken them to and wild events he has conjured. It’s often slow but I never lost interest. Kinski is great, as is the soundtrack. The whole movie feels like a canvas upon which to paint one’s own interpretations; viewers can decide for themselves what this story is a metaphor for, and we’d all be right even with very different answers. Either that or it’s just a bunch of crazy shit Herzog cooked up and managed to capture on film. I can completely understand its cult status.

Review: Deliverance

Director: John Boorman
Year: 1972
Score: 6.5/10

Solid thriller about a group of city folk who head out into the wilderness for a weekend canoe ride down a raging river, and encounter some less-than-friendly local hillbillies. It’s engaging enough, but I don’t understand the extent of its acclaim. Jon Voight is good, as is Ned Beatty, but Burt Reynolds seems out of his depth (excuse the pun) and a bit hammy. There’s good use of the song ‘Dueling Banjos’, and the hillbillies make good villains, but we don’t see them very much. The subtext about survival and ‘playing the game’ was a bit lost on me, I must say.

Review: Joe Kidd

Director: John Sturges
Year: 1972
Score: 5.5/10

Joe Kidd

The train scene… very cool.

Disappointing Clint Eastwood western written by Elmore Leonard (it’s worth pointing out that he died a week after I watched it; I’m not saying his death was related to my disappointment with Joe Kidd, but I’m not saying it wasn’t). It’s not terrible, it’s just wholly generic and not at all memorable. Eastwood’s fine (though the role isn’t a stretch for him), Robert Duvall overplays his role as the villain, and the other performers are largely adequate. The best part is a brief action sequence toward the end involving a train crash.