1977's The Car is about a car. You probably knew that. Chances are, you've seen this whirlwind pushcart. Me, I saw squares and wrecktangles of it aeons ago, but I was too young to form an opinion. I wasn't the highfalutin' film critic I am now. While The Car wasn't the first of its kind (way to go, Spielberg...dick), I don't mind saying that it's still an extremely effective genre treat. Reading up on the production, I'm muddle-headed at the time and effort that went into the construction of the titular car(s). There were four roadsters upreared for the project. I understand that special provisions had to be made to account for safety and aesthetics, but to my ignorant eyes, the car in The Car looks like a junker. It was sleek for 1977, I suppose.
Now I'm afraid that an elder is going to yell at me. I don't know jack fuck about cars! I will say this much; the villainous black Sedan (it IS a Sedan, isn't it?) is creepy. Director Elliot Silverstein captures terrific wide shots of the car motoring in the distance, surrounded only by capacious desert flats. Maybe a few sand slopes here and there. This is normally where I would stolidly slide into a synopsis, but I covered it, man. It's about a fucking car. There are some people walking around in front of the camera. James Brolin is steady as Wade, a copper who becomes the slewfoot in charge after the sheriff is mowed down.
Kathleen Lloyd isn't terrible as the love interest, but there are scenes where her delivery is cringe-worthy. Take her "argument" with the car, for example. It's so awkward. It may be the dialogue, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Ronny Cox is convincing as the recovering alcoholic who hides a bottle of rotgut in his desk drawer. He falls apart as his partners perish, but he doesn't go into Hollywood hysterics. In other words, he doesn't need to be slapped by our strapping hero. He reacts realistically. I found Eddie Deezen to be a peculiar casting choice as the front left tire on the car (in The Car). Distracting, to say the least.
I'm averse to spoiling significant plot details (not that it would matter to too many folks), but I dig how the picture handles a certain character's death. You can't predict the order of the fatalities. This one, in particular, caught me off-guard. If you've seen The Car, you know to whom I'm referring. Was that...was that correct grammar? Sounds alright, but it feels shitty. I'm going to scoff at it. Scoff! We'll see if that fixes it. Anyway, this is a tense movie that consummates most of what it sets out to achieve. I don't get the spousal abuse angle, considering it's dropped halfway through. That's a bad thing. But overall, The Car is good. It's a good thing!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:56 PM