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Sordid Cinema Podcast

Sordid Cinema Podcast #540: ‘Witness’ is Masterful, Plain, Old-Fashioned Filmmaking

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Witness 1985 Podcast Review

Witness 1985 Podcast Review

This week on the Sordid Cinema Podcast, Rick and Patrick get their city hands dirty with 1985’s Witness, directed by Peter Weir. The story of a little Amish boy who watches a grisly murder take place in a train station bathroom manages to combine a subdued-but-tense police thriller with an exceptionally grounded love story between detective John Book (Harrison Fords, in his only Oscar-nominated role) and the boy’s mother, Rachel (played by Kelly McGillis), along with a theme contrasting pacifism and the use of deadly force. The guys discuss how Weir expertly maintains restraint, often opting for subtle facial expressions over dialogue, and plenty of quiet moments abound. The director also once again makes the presence of the land deeply felt, creating an absorbing environment complemented by an otherworldly score by Maurice Jarre.

With so many great scenes, how can we choose the best? What might Rick and Patrick change about this nearly flawless film? Along the way in answering these questions and more, the guys dive into the production history, as well as talk about how this film fits in with Peter Weir’s filmography. Have a listen!

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Launched in 2007, Sordid Cinema is one of the longest-running film podcasts. Following a long absence (let’s call it an extended break), Ricky D is back on the Sordid Cinema beat, accompanied by his new co-host, Patrick Murphy. The Sordid Cinema Podcast makes its return, with a new format that sees hosts Ricky D and Patrick Murphy discussing some of our favorite genre films over the years that may have flown under the radar for some audiences. This new version of the long-running show will focus more on discussion and less, on reviews, as we hope to examine the selections from a multitude of angles and break down what makes these films so special. Brought to you by the former editors of Sound on Sight, Sordid Cinema is Goomba Stomp’s Film and TV section and a leading source of movie reviews, and discussion from the world of international, independent, cult and genre cinema. We cover film festivals around the world including Cannes, TIFF, Fantasia, NYFF, Tribeca, Fantastic Fest, SXSW, FNC, Venice, Berlin, and more.

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