William Friedkin's remake takes half an hour to get to the starting point of H-G Clouzot's Wages of Fear, and he takes advantage of that half-hour to accumulate a dozen corpses. (This early action looks good in the Coming Attractions trailer. Friedkin, it seems, will go to any lengths to lure you into a movie. His title, for example, is actually nothing more sinister than the name of a pickup truck.) The prolonged prologue is a tipoff to the rest of this existential trip: Friedkin moves from one point to the next at the pace of a nonagenarian, and he occupies his time by piling on the "realism" (meaning squalor). All of the dialogue in this brutal physical movie could just about be squeezed onto a single postcard. Some good points: the consistently well-chosen faces, the dragon-like, smoke-breathing trucks, the eerie music by Tangerine Dream. With Roy Scheider, Francisco Rabal, Bruno Cremer, Amidou. 1977.

Duncan Shepherd

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