Male bonding becomes a destructive force in Ted Kotcheff’s psychological gut-punch of a film, a classic only recently restored. Oppressive and tainted with hopelessness, his masterfully directed opus plays like one man’s waking nightmare. Try as he may Grant just can’t seem to leave town and as he begins his slow descent he is further tormented by Faustian memories of his girlfriend beckoning half-naked before a pounding seashore. Faced with an existential mediocrity Grant’s despair is almost palpable which makes the film’s gripping final moments—scenes saturated with self-hatred and a bleak homoeroticism—all the more heart-rending and lending a sad irony to its sunbaked denouement.

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