Monday, March 8, 2010

Blue Collar (1978)

Dir: Paul Schrader
ActionMax HD Broadcast

After writing four films (including Taxi Driver), Schrader made his directorial debut with this film that's part heist movie and part indictment on the unions and big businesses that were exploiting the workers at the time. It stars Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, and Yaphet Kotto as assembly line workers at an auto plant. Times are tough and it's hard to make ends meet. The employees get no satisfaction from the union and no help from the company as it seems that they are bitter that the union exists, it's a vicious cycle to keep the working man down. Pryor needs money for back taxes, Keitel needs it for his daughter's braces, and Kotto needs it for partying so one day when Pryor is in the union office one day, he sees their safe and comes up with a plan to break in and take the cash. Things don't go according to plan and the trio finds themselves in a conspiracy that is well out of their depth. It's a well made film, until the last shot in which Schrader proceeds to beat us in the skull with his point, that tells it's story in a natural and captivating way. It's also pretty depressing and Schrader does a good job in creating protagonists that are not always sympathetic if even downright unlikable at times but the three leads give top-notch performances.
The DVD that was released on Anchor Bay a few years back in now out of print. There has since been a DVDr version officially released that can be purchased through Amazon but it doesn't contain the commentary track or any special features from the previous edition. This broadcast in HD looked pretty good and would be a fine Blu-Ray release.


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