To Live and Die in L.A.

Director: William Friedkin
Year Released: 1985
Rating: 3.0

You have to look past a lot of dated trappings - 80's hair, 80's music, 80's lingo - and some lazy plot contrivances to get to the (sleazy) meat of this American policier about wild government agents breaking rules to catch rule-breaking counterfeiters. Friedkin is well aware of how his misogynist/hedonist/obsessive lead character (played with selfish abandon by William L. Petersen) comes across as equally brash as kinky 'funny money' maker Willem Dafoe - like Michael Mann's Heat - released 10 years later - he was showing the necessity for cops to be robbers and vice versa. Friedkin being Friedkin, the ending smacks of Roeg & Cammell's Performance (or Losey's The Servant or Bergman's Persona ... just pick one already) as it shows the process of a meek policeman assuming the personality of a peer. There are also several well-filmed race & chase sequences (the director's forte) and overall, the picture is briskly paced. Opening title card that made me guffaw and shudder (simultaneously!): "Music composed and performed by Wang Chung."