Customer Review

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Whatever You're Reaching For Better Be A Sandwich...", March 8, 2005
This review is from: The Laughing Policeman (DVD)
The Laughing Policeman is anything but funny, although it does contain some very funny lines (like the title of this review) and some humorous situations. However, the eponymous Laughing Policeman is a grim, mirthless Walter Matthau who is investigating the death of his detective partner along with seven other people in a bus massacre. The movie unfolds as a police procedural unlike any other since, with extensive examination paid to the smallest detail. This may sound boring, but it's not. Under the steady direction of Stuart Rosenberg, the proceedings are both compelling and suspenseful.

This movie is one of the most realistic at depicting real gritty police work, which usually does comprise hitting the pavement and trying to shake out information from the demimonde on the streets. Bruce Dern is outstanding as Matthau's new hothead partner, and Lou Gosset is another standout. Matthau of course steals the movie with his hang-dog expression, laconic delivery, and the occasional violent outburst. When delivered, Matthau's angry brutality is shocking and unexpected from this actor we normally associate with comedies.

The 1970's saw the film violence floodgate open, thanks to Bonnie and Clyde, The Wild Bunch, Dirty Harry, and Straw Dogs. As a product of the new visceral '70's, this movie is very graphic and very violent, especially the opening scene. There is also some strong language, which surprised me for an early '70's movie, as profanity would become more mainstream in mid-to-late '70's flicks.

With the above caveat, by all means see this movie. It is a fine example of the police procedural, a great performance by Walter Matthau, a slice of 1970's urban graphic violence and language, and an interesting flashback to a pessimistic era not unlike our current time. As time passes, it's striking to note how little has really changed.

P.S.: This movie has no extras whatsoever, and is priced accordingly, making it very affordable.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 29, 2009 5:05:02 AM PST
A synopsis of the book made me realize the police have the same problems in Sweden as we do. Bad enough dealing with the underworld. Dane Scully has her day in court on this problem in Season IV of the X-Files.

joanisenberg@yahoo.com
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