Juggernaut (1974) - Richard Lester
Setting sail for the United States, the guests of the Britannica look forward to all this behemoth has to offer. Their fun and excitement is short lived when a mandman, who goes by Juggernaut, plants explosives on the luxury liner, demanding a large sum of money in exchange for instructions on how to successfully diffuse the bombs. Nicholas Porter, a high ranking company official, attempts to persuade his superiors to pay the madman's ransom but they refuse, leading Nicholas to rely on Supt. John Mcleod to help track down the man responsible. Richard Lester's Juggernaut is a tense and thrilling action/adventure that is quite the departure compared to most of Lester's filmography. While many films of this ilk tend to be thrilling but intellectually empty, Lester has created a film that is far more intelligent both emotionally and socially than many of the films of this genre. While the film is taut and tense, Lester injects the film with spurts of his trademark comedy, most notably using Roy Kinnear as a bumbling, entertainment director who comedic-ly tries to distract the passengers from the true danger they face. Juggernaut eviscerates any idea that Lester cannot direct more serious fair, with the filmmaker using a mixture of handheld and wide shots that give this film a grand yet intimate feel. This is a film that knows how to amp up the tension, my favorite device being the use of voiceover, one example being the juxtaposiion of Juggernaut's demands with the passengers having fun on the ship. A lot of fun from a pure escapism standpoint, Juggernaut is a sublte but seething commentary on bureaucracy and the perils of a system that doesn't take care of its own. Fun and intelligent, Richard Lester's Juggernaut is one of the better films of its genre, using this bomb/hostage storyline to question government policies.
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