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'The Detective' DVD Review ** 080605
The Work = **
Leland is successful cop that is rising through the ranks of the police force. The trouble is he questions some of the police forces convictions. As Leland begins to uncover intertwining crimes and cover ups he runs the risk of sacrificing his career. Much of the films deals with then underground homosexual culture. The problem is, homosexual culture was still taboo and while 'The Detective' tries to break through those taboo’s it doesn’t do so entirely successfully.
Much of the police force in the film is shown to be homophobic. Leland is not so bigoted as his counterparts are and is concerned with finding out the truth behind crimes, homosexual or not. He is a detective at a time when the public was going through a social revolution, youth culture was exploding. He has to deal with the sliding perception of the police force at work where the department seems ridged and certainly not open to change.
To make matters worse things are exasperated for Leland on the home front. Leland’s marriage has dissolved and much of the tension that lead to it seems to have come from his wife’s liberal friends and their attitudes. He seemed to be under some sort of pressure everywhere he went. Sinatra never missteps in his performance and he shows he really was a much better actor than he gets credit for.
I mentioned that I thought the film didn’t go gritty enough at the beginning of the review and I am not sure if that is the correct term. 'Dirty Harry', 'The French Connection' and 'Serpico' had all not come out yet but they would be able capitalize on different aspects of the police force and struggle of the police officer. Whether it was the new freedoms that filmmakers had to show more adult content onscreen or just luck those films were all able to bring dark gripping portraits to the screen that have held up better than 'The Detective'. (Ironically at one point Sinatra was going to be in 'Dirty Harry'.) Those films may owe a debt to earlier flics like 'The Detective' and there are those that will definitely dig this film more than I did.
DVD = ***
All Together = **
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