Sep 27, 2008

Rollerball (1975)

Rollerball is what I consider to be a classic. Not a classic in the vain of such films as Citizen Kane or 2001: A Space Odyssey, but a film entirely on it's own. The "extreme sport" subject might be an incredibly familiar subject in pro and con exploitation films but Rollerball produces an entirely organic spin on the subject. Norman Jewison brought to film what could be the cutting-edge sport of the future, not some trivial game that uses the hybrid of flesh and machine.

In this personal future, society isn't glitz & glamour. There's no flying cars or voice-activated refrigerators. Simple fabrics and uniforms breathe life in a game that very well could be with its thought out rule system and view on extreme violence in the media. Rollerball isn't that futuristic game of death to boost ratings - this game is to create a view of futility in individual effort. That is, until Jonathan E. becomes the first man since the halt of the corporate wars to spiral in popularity.

Jonathan E.'s character deals with some trials & tribulations and the theme of this film is his rebellion to an evil corporation. His defiance is not one of the explosive types where he - a single man - barges into HQ armed to the teeth with weapons. He has a gentle defiance to him. His unsatisfied smirk the entire movie reads "You're really an asshole...". He is just a man who has lost it all and chooses to fight back with the only way he knows how to.

Rollerball is a brave visioning of a new world based on a short story. It's regards towards the future and censorship feels awfully similar to that of Fahrenheit 451. Don't let the year 2018 fool you, this future could be highly possible. In a utopia where nobles are referred to as "Executives", this science-fiction monarchy phases me as being unsettling. I don't think I'd sacrifice much for endless luxury. One scene of drug-addled women taking a gun armed with explosives and destroying the last remnants of nature strikes me in too many senses. This masquerade of humanity is far too disquieting, even for my eyes.

Rhetorical female conversations sit upon this films masterpiece. When women aren't being used as spies or moles, they are viewed as lying and cheating whores. E.'s own wife got taken by an Executive but all the reasons for this personal tragedy do not make it acceptable. Females are often viewed in this film destroying beautiful things with a deranged look of sheer madness. Rollerball is a testament to that myth that women love "bad boys" as they themselves have a stark interest in violence.

Rollerball is a classic that fits within it's own confines. It is violent and unflinching and it is the anti-exploitation film to counter the likes of Death Race 2000. I miss the times when social commentary was the film and not a condiment on the side. James Caan plays an amazing performance as his restlessness and inner rage break through his calm exterior. Rollerball is a must-see dystopian piece of 70's cinema.



a pious atheists virtuous indignation said...

the only thing i`ve ever liked about james caan is that he is perhaps the most rampantly heterosexual man who has ever lived.

Soiled Sinema said...

He does look like a man that tramples queers. I wonder if he has a thing for Heather O'Rourke as well?


a heather o`rourke obsessed lunatic said...

the reason why he probably dosen`t have a thing for heather o`rourke is that although he`s rampantly heterosexual he also comes across as one of those all american tough guy type characters that unfortunately have been brought up to beleive that it is wrong for a man to have sexual feelings towards girls below a certain age, and that (as i`ve said before) is the main reason why this time that we`re living in will always be remembered by future historians as being "the time of sexual repression", surely i`m not going to have to remind you of that again, especially some-one who has the levels of intelligence that you obviously do. Anyway enough of my rage and bitterness about having been born into the wrong time in history and lets instead imagine something much more pleasant, lets go forward 30 years to a time when there will be heather o`rourke lookalikes on every street corner offering to cater and pander to your every sexual whim and desire for $100 in a world where all the lies, hypocrisy, sexual repression, and censorship that we`ve had to endure will just be a hideous nightmare from a (thankfully) by-gone era (just like religion is to us), imagine being in bed with 3 heather o`rourke lookalikes and performing every sex act in the book on those 3 gorgeous little girls, and then spunking down their lushious young throats, now thats freedom, a freedom that we still dont have unfortunately (unless you live in the ukraine obviously). "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION" what a fucking hideous time to be born into. You know if james caan were to read this he`d probably want to beat me up, but then again 200 years ago he would have beat me up if i said i didn`t believe in god.

lara flynn boyle said...

every man in the world has a thing for heather o`rourke w-heather sub-consciously or more obviously, i think that only now in the time of the internet are we finally seeing just how many people in the world just cant stop thinking about her, heather really was the stuff of legend, i think that in so many ways she really does represent the future for the human race, soon we will see images of her everywhere. By the way, before you reveiw poltergeist 3 i think its important that you visit all the websites that discuss the film in depth to get a full knowledge of everything that happened between april of `87 (when principal photography began) and march of `88 up to and including heathers tragic demise and the reshoots that took place after her death, it might give you an insight into (a) why the film is so bad, and (b) why heather is now acheiving legendary status worldwide.