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93 min.
Michael Winner
Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rating *
Votes *
3.4% (1:29)
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. Flops's avatar


    Perfect final scene. 3 years 3 months ago
  2. senorroboto's avatar


    I think it walks a fine line between being racist or not racist by not espousing most of its ensemble character viewpoints, but it's a whole lot of fun. It feels like a comic book origin story meets...the first season of breaking bad? 4 years 7 months ago
  3. GrooveRemote's avatar


    I once described this movie as "NRA porn" and though it's far more complicated than that, I think anyone who hasn't seen this should know what they're getting into. If you love guns and America, you'll probably love this movie. If you hate guns and America, you'll probably hate this movie. I lie somewhere in between, and I feel the same way about this film.

    Death Wish spins the yarn of Paul Kersey, an affluent New York City liberal living a comfy, happy life. To quote cheesy '90s trailers, "his entire world is turned upside down when" his wife is murdered and his daughter assaulted and rendered inert by street toughs lead by a young Jeff Goldblum hamming it up beautifully. He goes on a work retreat to rural Arizona, where a simple country man who shows him the terrifying, exhilarating beauty of guns. When Paul returns to NYC with his new Colt revolver he is hurtled into the life of a vigilante killer. Some say he's doing good work, other slimy liberal whiners say he's a madman. Who's right? Well, the movie makes its stance clear.

    Death Wish is more than a competent film; it's a thrilling one as all thrillers should be, though many are not. It has an edge sharper even than Dirty Harry's, perhaps its closest mainstream contemporary. The shot competition in the vigilante scenes is theatrical, like something out of an Orson Welles film (if you know me, you know I love Welles' shot composition), with lots of darkness thrown over everything. It really feels like the grimy, filth-ridden city it wants us to believe New York is, or was. A lot of the performances are something out of a soap opera, but Chuck Bronson is on top of his game. It makes sense that he thought himself miscast, but that adds a layer of surprise to Kersey. He becomes the character as much as a classical movie star can, which may not sound like much, but the standards for actors like Bronson are entirely different. Herbie Hancock displays his mastery of the film score yet again, as he did back in '66 with Blow-Up.

    The real Achilles heel of Death Wish is the script. It makes for decent action/thriller/melodrama fodder, but it dumbs down the complexities of the novel dramatically. Gone is the contemplation of what lurks in the hearts of men, replaced with vapid fantasies of slaughter and thrill-chasing. As Brian Garfield's brilliant novel shows, you can be thrilled and find some sympathy for Kersey without simplifying or glorifying his actions. Here, he's an unquestionable force for good in a cartoonish world that seems designed to preach a sermon rather than tell an honest fable, and that I cannot stand. The thing about this film's morality that irks me the most is that it prides itself a champion of the common man whilst exemplifying his sometimes simple-minded, primal lust for blood and galvanizing it to make a profit. Death Wish is, at its core, another trashy testosterone bait cash-grab made to suck less-thoughtful conservatives' wallets dry.
    2 months 1 week ago
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In 3 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #192 in Action! The Action Movie A-Z
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  2. This movie ranks #231 in 500 Essential Cult Movies
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    500 Essential Cult Movies

  3. This movie ranks #694 in TSPDT 1000 Noir Films
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    TSPDT 1000 Noir Films

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