HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Moonchild
Verite, La
Guilty, The
Stranger in the House
Redcon-1
G.G. Passion
Chien Andalou, Un
Boar
Bulldog Drummond
First Man
Machete Maidens Unleashed!
Cannibal Club, The
Grasshopper, The
Searching
Human Desire
Climax
Stiff Upper Lips
American Animals
Outlaws
Venom
World on a Wire
Velvet Buzzsaw
Picnic
Dick Dickman, PI
Hunter Killer
30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The
Race for the Yankee Zephyr
Boys in the Band, The
Brainscan
T-Men
   
 
Newest Articles
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
   
 
  Medium Cool Reality TVBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Haskell Wexler
Stars: Robert Forster, Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz, Marianna Hill, Harold Blankenship, Christine Bergstrom, William Sickinger, Sid McCoy, Felton Perry, Peter Boyle, Haskell Wexler
Genre: Drama, Documentary
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Chicago 1968. TV news cameraman and reporter John (Robert Forster) refuses to become involved in the news he reports on until he meets up with a poor, lonely, single mother (Verna Bloom) and her son, and then his social conscience begins to be raised. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party Convention is soon to be held in the city, and trouble is brewing...

Cinematographer Haskell Wexler wrote, produced and directed this potent example of political film making of the late 1960's, a time when many people were addressing social issues and violence was in the air. Taking a documentary approach, Wexler mixed a fictional story with real life events that culminated in a riot, which he filmed as part of the drama.

In the very first scene, John is shown filming a car crash, complete with a woman lying dying in the road who he makes no effort to help, simply phoning for an ambulance after he has all the shots he needs. His callous attitude reflects his feeling that the media should merely observe what they record, but as the film goes on, he realises that by reporting the news, he becomes a part of it as well.

The violence of the society is reflected in many ways: we see John attending a roller derby (basically people on roller skates beating each other up) and hear that he used to be a boxer; the gun culture becomes stronger as more citizens fear for their lives; we see young followers of Robert Kennedy knowing that later he will be murdered; and a tribute to the assassinated Martin Luther King is shown on TV. Then there is the Vietnam War that has polarised public opinion and led to anti-war protesters being attacked by the police and army.

In attempting a "state of the nation" message, Medium Cool tries a little too hard to be all-encompassing in its concerns. There are sequences regarding the poverty of the ghettos, the relevance of religion, the surveillance of the population by the authorities, and, in one of the strongest parts, racial tensions when John follows up a story about a black cab driver returning a large sum of lost money and becomes embroiled in an argument with black militants who want their voice to be heard.

Ironically, Wexler's documentary style is pretty distancing itself, but the final riot scenes are rivetting. As Bloom, in her yellow dress, wanders through protesters, police and soldiers the camera takes it all in: the shouting, the tear gas, the beatings, the running and the blood. We hear one cop yelling, "You stinkin' Commie!" as he batters a young man over the head; demonstrators call, "Fuckin' pigs!"; and famously, a camera assistant cries out to Wexler, "Look out Haskell, it's real!"

As all this commotion goes on the convention continues inside, giving the impression that at best, the authorities are out of touch and at worst, they are as callous as John was at the start of the film. The unhappy, Godard-style ending seems contrived now, but this is one of the most unique political films ever made. Also with: a nude "romp". Incidental music by the Mothers of Invention.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 11258 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: