To Live And Die in LA (1985)

William Friedkin directs William Petersen, Willem Dafoe and John Pankow in this cop thriller where a corrupt Secret Service agent enters into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a flamboyant counterfeiter.

Wow! Much like the walloping centrepiece car chase (all hail Buddy Joe Hooker’s stunt driving madmen) where our protagonists’ race down the wrong direction of a freeway… this is a movie that revels in making the least sensible survival choices. And it absolutely rocks because of it. We get more explicit male nudity than female, we get a “white hat” who proves more repugnantly villainous than any of the criminals and we get a shock resolution that must have made test audiences throw up on their opinion cards. To Live And Die In LA looks and sounds like someone distilled the mid-Eighties into a coke caked test tube… Wang Chung does the omni-present poppy rock soundtrack for fucksake. Everything is bright, seedy, overwrought and striking. An absolute nasty blast of a thriller, morally bankrupt in all the best ways. Strange to think that the three releases that toppled Friedkin’s intense career are among his best. Sorcerer, Cruising and this are scorching adult entertainments, up there with The Exorcist and The French Connection. Featuring an early John Turturro support: “That doesn’t mean I’m gonna roll over and play informer. If you’re looking for a pigeon, go to the park.”


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

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