In the fading atmosphere of the New Hollywood era, William Friedkin – the wunderkind director with an Academy Award
for his cop drama, The French Connection (1971) who then scored an even bigger success with The Exorcist (1973) – began work on what would prove to be the most controversial film of his career: Cruising (1980). In the process he established a template for a sub-genre, the serial killer thriller, that would thrive long after his film had left theatres, having caused widespread offence among the very audience he'd hoped to appeal to, via a campaign mobilised by the counter-culture press. As such, Cruising can be read as a bitter farewell
to the seventies and its cinema and industry.
This Devil's Advocate dives deep into the phenomenon that is Cruising, examining its creative context and its protagonists, as well as examining its ongoing popularity as it turns 40 in 2020.
Eugenio Ercolani’s and Marcus Stiglegger’s book on William Friedkin’s Cruising
is an important addition to the annals of scholarship and fandom
devoted to this long neglected and underrated masterpiece of American
cinema in the 1980s. Meticulously researched, it documents the gay
culture that surrounds the film and its former controversial status, as
well as the biographies and backgrounds of the key, creative people
involved. Most importantly, it offers a new, open-minded interpretation
of this wilfully fragmented and complex film. – Adrian Martin, film