Death Wish (1974)

Michael Winner directs Charles Bronson, Vincent Gardenia and Hope Lange in this crime thriller where a mild mannered liberal turns lethal vigilante when his wife is killed and his daughter raped by home invaders.

Low expectations given Bronson is one of my least favourite stars and Winner became an awful director. This is pretty effective. The threat of street chaos is continually creepy and sleazy. Bronson’s descent into violence is handled with patience and intelligence. There are even flourishes of nightmarish magical realism. Wintery Manhattan lends itself to a dark fantasy vibe. The bare trees over Central Park tower over the innocents like a Grimm fairytale forest, blizzards delete funeral scenes, extras reappear in later scenes like foreboding echoes from the past. Standard stuff as exploitation trying to be something artier in its best moments. Effective score by Herbie Hancock.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

One comment

  1. PatrickWhy · August 19, 2020

    I watched this for the first time this summer. I agree with you—it was kind of quieter than I expected, and like you say, had a sense of heightened reality about it. An interesting little stand alone picture that was then spun off into a million sequels of I would imagine diminishing quality

    Liked by 1 person

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