The basic premise of THE WARRIORS is powerful and political: the New York “futuristic” film is presented by… her gang. Therefore, there will be Jazz musicians, Mimes (yes, mimes), Orphans (of latinos), the Skinheads, the Girls, the Monks, the Rockers, the Overalls, the Baseball-men… in Short: dozens and dozens of gangs that, by their diversity (ethnic, cultural, physical, optical, warrior, etc) are the famous melting-pot, the founder of the United States. Hundreds of gangs who congregate in the introduction to the film, into a single whole, a horde, as a version in New York from that ofAssault (John Carpenter, 1976).
The common point between all of them, apart from their youth is that they are symbols live, the inherent backlash of a company post of the thirty glorious years (THE WARRIORS of 1979). Baby boom, economic growth and full employment mean now: crises inevitable (oil, housing, etc.), uncontrollable immigration, unemployment, or poverty. An introduction in the form of a big grin in the future. No Future.
To go back to the movie, all these gangs have each delegate 9 of their members to attend a large gathering in a park in the Bronx (the city-ghetto, therefore, in the extreme north of New York ). It is here that we are shown the famous Warriors of the title, gang without any real personality to the members of multi-ethnic, sporting grounds, vaguely indian, and wearing leather jackets bordeaux – the group which, by default, is the one to whom we can best identify with. The gathering is a mixture of political meeting and of Woodstock, and is driven by a leader religiously charismatic: Cyrus. It calls on all the gangs to remain in the current state of truce, and, in unison, to resume the ascendant on a future that looks bleak for the youth, forming a single huge clan ready to dominate the city (We will be 60000 and there are only 20000 policemen in the city. Get it ???”). Cyrus will nevertheless be murder before this project beautiful but disturbing take on life, and this murder will be wrongly attributed to the Warriors. The murder of Cyrus the great sign of the true beginning of the film, a chase and an escape forward to the 9 members of the Warriors. They must return “home” at Coney Island (extreme south of the city, in the south of Brooklyn). Their goal: to cross the vast and labyrinthine New York. Loans ? Fire, It IS GONE !
“The Warriors is a powerful action film, which hides a social debate of a deep crazy, in the tradition of Mad Max !”
Already from the intro, there is an evocative power mad to see these thousands of young people gathered in a single common voice – but the next moment, completely disorganized and panicked by the death of their leader. The font then appears as an large anonymous stomping without any consideration, a huge anthill. These images are a reference to many things past and future. For example, how not to see a premonition of the future policy of zero tolerance of Rudolph Giuliani (1994-2001), which will transform NY into the warm city, and bourgeois tourism as we know it now, pushing back the presser foot, the violence and insecurity in the confines of Manhattan ? Or the many movement, protest and political, cut off in their flight by the assassination of their leaders, from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King in passing through JFK… it’s All a part of the history of the United States is summed up in this intro, giving you even more persistence in this reality, presented as alternative, but yet definitely palpable. Even if this strong assumption will not be operated as such by the suite, it gives a consistency of subliminal violence and situations of the film.
Because violent, THE WARRIORS of the east. Not graphic violence, but rather desperate because born of a future suddenly anihilé. The famous mix of a dream in the beginning of the film disappears in favor of individualism, and sees each clan to fight for its own interest. The Warriors for their survival, some for honor, others for the reward of esteem, others for the pure joy of a warrior. Every clan, every encounter, every fight becomes of these points of view, the opportunity for a reflection on american values; that the instinct of property, the american dream, cultural diversity, the ghettoization, of the cult of the body, or of success… and all the follies that ensue. In short, watermark, the film is a sacred depth, IF one takes the time to linger there.
That said… The social debate is all well and good, but what is it in cinema ?
Walter Hill, we were already amazed by the staging of its Driver, it goes a little bit further here, showing an excellent achievement. In the way of a Mad Max, Hill merges perfectly paced, action, fury of the staging, art direction, music (although it depends on the tastes, anyway) and history, with for only guideline the idea of conveying the tension inherent in the concept of man hunt, where every encounter is a potential danger. Danger born of the starting premise and the consistency subliminal that it gives to the actions and reactions of the characters in the film – danger, taking different appearances (these “gangs of New York”, their “looks”), different forms (these “gangs of New York”, their “methods”) – hazards exploiting the specificity of the city (streets, subways, parks, toilets, apartments, etc.) – danger illustrated audio-visually in many ways. THE WARRIORS takes a look homer, in the Greek sense of the term, with its issues in a simple, but put in perspective by mobs at once monumental and human, krakens, mermaids, demi-gods and other nemesis the merciless, in the heart of a vast territory decided to devour the poor sailors lost. The intensity of the film is undeniable, whether his bastons (generally unarmed, sometimes with a knife or handgun, always choreographed with the utmost), his car chases on foot, or its moments of respite that are not. Even the transitions and ellipses fit perfectly to the rest, Walter Hill, the operating in making the live-action footage of boxes of comics. In sum, the film is (also) a real punch to formal !
We broke out in the middle of the figure, a new one (see our review of Driver) filiation with the Mad Max for George Miller. Attention: with THE WARRIORS, we are not talking about influences aesthetic or scriptwriting to one side or the other, but rather a common vision of the future of a company on the decline.
A vision which passes through the extrapolation of the present, its companies, its turpitude;
A vision that makes the human a survivor, and where survival motivates the action.
A vision whose motives scriptwriting refined (a chase and a flight before) to mask a deep crazy, but to decrypt it,
A depth that goes through the implementation (mise en scène, art direction, scenario a sleek, rich history).
A vision so powerful that it will leave its imprint on the collective unconscious, seeing his reasons listed, and there.
And this is finally it, too, the real Cinema.
THE WARRIORS will be visible during leFestival Light, which will take place from 8 to 16 October 2016, in all the cinemas of the grand Lyon.
– our coverage