The Osterman Weekend | Chicago Reader

The Osterman Weekend

After a five-year absence from the screen, Sam Peckinpah returned with this convoluted thriller (1983) packed with the usual Peckinpah elements—primal struggles, agonizingly aestheticized violence, a pervasive jitteriness and desperation—but also touched by the arcane, lunar spirit of Fritz Lang's late films. The manipulative patterns of the plotting, the stripped-down, barely functional visuals, and of course the banks of TV monitors that impassively register every anxious action of the characters recall in particular The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, but Peckinpah has also adapted Lang's incredibly distanced perspective on his characters, regarding them as creatures from another planet. The structure is a mess (the film was recut against Peckinpah's wishes), which ultimately makes it difficult to tell whether its oddly compelling qualities are the result of a coherent artistic strategy or the cynical carelessness of a director sidelined for too long. With Rutger Hauer and John Hurt.


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