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Kwok Kuen Chan,
Tien Lung Chen
A new commanding officer arrives at a remote castle serving as an insane asylum for crazy and AWOL U.S. Army soldiers where he attempts to rehabilitate them by allowing them to live out their crazy fantasies while combating his own long-suppressed insanity. Written by
I rented this film one night when I was tired of seeing the same things in the "New Releases" section, so I (shudder!) headed for the catalog titles, and picked this one out because--God, am I shallow--the cover looked interesting. Turning over to the back, I skimmed the summary, saw that it starred Mike Hammer and the guy who mooned us in the last season of "St. Elsewhere", so I thought that it may be just bad enough to be amusing. So I plunked down my three bucks and went home wondering if I wouldn't have just been better off watching reruns of "Married with Children" all night.
But I watched this movie. Then I rewound it and watched it again. Over the next three days, I watched and rewatched every frame of this masterpiece more times than I should publicly admit. I was moved beyond words, beyond being an audience. I became a disciple--even a proselyte--for this film. Stacy Keach completely astounded me, someone who knew him only as Mike Hammer. People, this man can ACT. I saw every demon his Colonel Kane carried with him. The rest of the cast, with a special metion for Scott Wilson's amazing performance as a tortured astronaut and for Ed Flanders, who kept his character's true motivation well hidden until it could stand to be covered no more, was perfect.
But this movie is, above all, about the writing and the direction. William Peter Blatty cared about his project, and the lucky few (sadly, VERY few) of us who shared in it were fortunate enough to see cinematic perfection virtually attained. Watch this film, let it develop, don't question where its motives are until it decides to let you in on them. Give it your full attention, and you will be rewarded with a treat we so tragically, rarely get to have. No special effects, no huge budget. Just artistry. Pure, refined artistry.
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