Sunday, 23 October 2011


To Live and Die in LA
Existential motifs in LA, sexual undertows moody lighting, anti heroes, cynicism, nihilism and a  noir sensibility. No, it;'s not Michael Mann it's William Friedkin's To Live and Die in LA. Made in 1985.  Mann  took it's leading man William Petersen as the star of Manhunter made the following year. Mann's Miami Vice started in 1984 and therefore could almost pre dated Friedkin's styling on this movie and to an extent Thief made in 1981 was a huge step in the establishing of what came to be known as Neo-Noir.
To Live and Die in LA came five years after Friedkins's Cruising which gained a great degree of notoriety ; In fact I remember going to see it in the Haymarket when it was released and the Cinema was picketed by Gay activists. TL&D in LA is a film with a blunt and surprising ending and takes a view of Los Angeles through far from rose coloured spectacles. To an extent it was a brief return to form from the Friedkin that bought us The French Connection (rewriting the book on cop movies) and The Excorcist.
It's soundtrack is achingly eighties and there are some great moments where the music complements the image. This is not an MTV movie in content, even if it may be stylistically. It could be a hard boiled 40's Noir as much as an 'of the time' movie. If you like Mann's work check out this movie by the inconsitent but talented Friedkin, it's an interesting sign of the times and above all a good movie.

William Peterson
Willem DeFoe
Gary Cole being chased by William Petersen in To Live and Die in LA
the airport
The 'none more eighties' soundtrack

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having said that;