Escape from New York

Escape from New York

It's low on budget but big on atmosphere. Not a lot really happens in Escape From New York but I never seem to mind that. It does such a good job luring you in with dark gritty cinematography and moody electronic music. The leisurely pace allows for some great character moments. Snake could have come across as a lame attempt at an action hero because of how many "badass" traits they gave him: an eye-patch AND a snake tattoo? Leather jacket AND raspy voice? But Kurt Russell took it and made it his own. You look and the guy and believe what you see.
All of the supporting actors are great, every one of them have shining moments and leave lasting impressions. I particularly love Donald Pleasance as the President. It must have been fun as a British actor to mock the highest position of power in the U.S. by making such a cowardly and un-heroic portrayal.
Maybe they didn't have the means to show Manhattan is total wreckage like the poster promises, with the Statue of Liberty in pieces littering the streets, but Carpenter knows how to use shadow. He gives you just enough detail of your surroundings for you to know what kind of dangerous environment you're in but conceals so much to constantly have you question what might leap out of the darkness.

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