Tag Archives: Paul Schrader

Paul Schrader – American Gigolo (1980)

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Julian makes a lucrative living as an escort to older women in the Los Angeles area. He begins a relationship with Michelle, a local politician’s wife, without expecting any pay. One of his clients is murdered and Detective Sunday begins pumping him for details on his different clients, something he is reluctant to do considering the nature of his work. Julian begins to suspect he’s being framed. Read More »

Paul Schrader – Blue Collar (1978)

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Paul Schrader’s directorial debut examines the trials of Detroit autoworkers living at the mercy of a heartless corporation and a corrupt union. Surviving from paycheck to paycheck, Checker Cab assembly linemen Zeke (Richard Pryor), Jerry (Harvey Keitel), and Smokey (Yaphet Kotto) scrape by and take pleasure in a few rounds of beer or bowling (and occasional illicit amusements). But when their money troubles pile up, Jerry and Smokey join Zeke in a desperate plan to steal cash from their local union office. Along with a piddling $600, they unexpectedly swipe evidence of union corruption. Read More »

Paul Schrader – Auto Focus (2002)

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Review by Michael Hastings (Allmovie)

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Though Paul Schrader isn’t often tapped to direct scripts other than his own, his touch proves essential to Auto Focus, a true-life tale of sex, celebrity, and videotape that seems tailor-made to the man who dreamed up Taxi Driver and American Gigolo. Schrader’s clinical, detached directorial style proves well-matched to the genial, humorous tone of Michael Gerbosi’s script; it’s like Hardcore without all the proselytizing (and without the sight of George C. Scott in a campy porn-producer costume). What Auto Focus is most interested in is not the narcotizing effects of anonymous sex — though that’s undeniably a big part of it — but the latent homosexuality lurking behind Bob Crane and John Carpenter’s buddy-buddy sexcapades. Finally cast in a role that successfully sends up and subverts his All-American charm, Greg Kinnear perfectly captures Crane’s kid-in-a-candy-store sexual awakening; meanwhile, Willem Dafoe underlines the desperation at the heart of the swinging lifestyle. Schrader overplays his hand in the film’s “downward spiral” sequences, switching to hand-held camera and bleached-out film stock, but even those minor technical miscalculations don’t detract from the film’s portrait of Crane as a man whose determination to lead the unobserved life ultimately led to his death. Read More »

Paul Schrader – Light of Day (1987)

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Synopsis: The siblings Patty and Joe live in an industrial suburb. While Patty’s ambition is their rock band “The Barbusters” only, Joe also cares for the family and the upbringing of Patty’s young son Benji. Their pious mother reproaches them for their way of life, especially when they quit their jobs and go on tour, taking Benji with them. Read More »

Paul Schrader – Adam Resurrected (2008)

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While the Holocaust is certainly a legitimate topic of inquiry for the committed filmmaker, most contemporary treatments of the Nazi camps betray their mission by allowing the viewer to feel altogether too comfortable as they take in the on-screen atrocities. Whether through the establishment of a mitigating historical distance, the adoption of standard genre tropes or the repetition of an established catalog of horrors, films like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and A Secret tend to overly familiarize the events of World War II, allowing the viewer to safely assimilate that conflict’s genocidal horrors. But whatever the flaws of Adam Resurrected, and despite the fact that no physical violence is perpetrated on screen, Paul Schrader never allows the viewer to get comfortably situated, relying on an absurdist central conceit and a rapidly shifting array of intellectual and moral concerns—whose superficial treatment unfortunately leads to a certain diffuseness in the work—to continually de-familiarize his subject. Read More »