my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Death Wish
Director:   Michael Winner
Year:   1974
Genre:   Crime
Times Seen:   2
Last Seen:   12.04.22

Other Movies Seen By This Director (1)
- The Mechanic

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
12.04.22Internet Death Wish. This one's pure vigilante, but both films started increasingly ridiculous franchises that went on too long, both films feature a bleak worldview where the system impedes justice rather than encourages it, both from action mega stars who are better when they aren't talking. To me it's a natural pairing, if not a little too on the nose.

I saw this one later than Dirty Harry (the entry should be shown below). My notes of interest are largely the same: Jeff Goldblum as one of the punks in the beginning, shooting in Old Tucson (as Old Tucson the tourist park), but also this time Jack Wallace popped out with his mustache and his big watery eyes and his supremely odd exit from the picture ("Weird!").

I think what makes this movie transgressive is that the character starts to like killing people. Like, when the police tell him that he's being watched, he could've taken a night or two off ya know? Instead, he snuck around to evade them just so he could get his gun and shoot more people. He's deeper and deeper into a delusion of this old west figure. I'm actually surprised that the movie isn't more heavy-handed with this, just including a few touches (most notably at the end when he tells the final mugger to "fill his hand" and "draw" before passing out).

And just like Eastwood delivering his "Do you feel lucky, punk?" line again, having the movie end with Bronson pointing a finger-gun and smiling at some Chicago goons can't help but turn this movie into a franchise. Two characters who probably weren't intended to be looked up to instead drawing a generation of fans. I guess that's the fine line you walk in dealing with anti-heroes. There will always be a segment who don't get the anti- part and treat them as heroes.

This movie also trades San Francisco for New York. I feel like New York in the 70s is almost a genre unto itself. Subway stations, graffiti, trash in the gutters, overcoats. It's such an evocative vibe.

Just like Arnold in Total Recall, I do think this movie would've worked different and probably better with a more everyman actor in the role. Watching Bronson talk about housing developments and amortization is a little stretch but this does also work for him since he's older and not playing up his physique so much. I dunno, it's so hard to put yourself back before this was a staple. I can see why it was a hit but it didn't feel like a classic to me the way Dirty Harry did.

But it's definitely still a great gateway drug if you will to many of the other double features I have lined up. Till the next one...
02.03.07Netflix god damn Freebirds is good.

anyway, I've never seen this... It slipped through the cracks or something... I don't know how because as a kid I loved reading The Punisher comics which is basically the same thing as this, except he wears a skull on his chest instead of a flat mustaches.

Um... So I remember reading in some article... this guy stated that Death Wish represented the moral corruption of society and was a low point in cinema history. I guess he said that because of the ending... but whatever. However, the movie does kind of boil down to one point and once its made there's not many places it can go. I did love to see Bronson trying to act like a normal person in the beginning of this though... yeah, I can totally see him drawing up housing blueprints and doing site surveys. Plus there's a scene (I guess where Bronson gets his inspiration to start killing people) shot in Old Tuscon... and that's a pre-fire Old Tuscon, which is... probably only interesting to me. It was also cool to see a young Jeff Goldblum playing Freak #1.

For some reason, I never fully connected with this movie. I don't think it's bad, but I kinda saw the entire movie in the first scene (and, you know, years and years of having it in the ether) so I guess watching it was kind of like buying the Cars DVD just because you have all the other Pixar discs...
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