I Feel You, Man: Ridley Scott’s The Duellists

Harvey Keitel as Feraud standing on a cliff overlooking a river and fields

|MH Rowe| Of course we’re supposed to condescend to the idea of a duel. To imagine two people—two men—agreeing to mortal combat with guns or swords over a breach of honor strikes the contemporary and perhaps cynical observer as so fussily absurd, so absurdly dramatic, and so male, that we… Continue reading

Harvey, the Haughty Hussar

Feraud (Harvey Keitel), a light-skinned, brown-haired man with a mustache and two skinny hair braids, is sitting down with a person on his right whose face is obscured by Feraud's hand. He is wearing a white shirt with a thick black collar, and looking slightly off-camera.

|Alex Kies| In 1977, two years after Stanley Kubrick released Barry Lyndon, Ridley Scott made his filmmaking debut with The Duelists, his own artfully shot Napoleonic epic about the inner lives of petty European men played by incongruously cast Americans. Last year, Scott made… Continue reading

A Whine and a Whimper: The Death of Law Enforcement’s Lionization in James Mangold’s Cop Land

|Chris Polley| There’s a certain built-in legacy in the alliterative phrase “corrupt cop” that belies its own linguistic paradox (or, perhaps, even its redundancy). The rogue detective, the rule-breaking sheriff, and the trigger-happy officer: even before modern American history… Continue reading

Bad Lieutenant: Make Perfect My Imperfections

Harvey Keitel as Bad Leutenant is lurking through a barely open door

|Michael Wellvang| By the mid-1980s, public perception of films “rated X” had shifted radically. First introduced in 1968 by the Motion Picture Association of America, the rating simply stated a patron should be at least sixteen to watch a particular movie. Now it just meant smut. So the MPAA… Continue reading

Your Forgiveness Will Leave Blood in its Wake

The Lieutenant stands in a desecrated church. The word "fuck" is scrawled on an altar behind him. To his right, the Virgin Mary has been knocked over.

|Finn Odum| Last November, I learned that the guy who made the completely mid Body Snatchers and King of New York is the same guy who made Bad Lieutenant. This knowledge came to me against my will, as I was quite content not knowing anything else about… Continue reading

This is What Happens When We Give Women Wuthering Heights

Baines kisses Ada on the neck against a white wall.

|Veda Lawrence| “Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” For all my adoration for Austen, I must admit that she never wrote a single confession of love that comes close to rivaling even a throwaway sentence in Wuthering Heights in terms of romanticism and ferocity. That said, … Continue reading

The Attraction of the Pedaling Ankle: The Body as the Voice in The Piano

Ada stands in a darkened room with one finger extended toward the camera.

|Sophie Durbin| While procrastinating on my research for this piece on The Piano, I decided to learn everything I could about Michael Nyman’s lush original score. The track titles are as romantic and sensual as you’d expect: “The Heart Asks Pleasure First,” “The Scent of Love,” … Continue reading