"Is it Safe?!"

Dustin Hoffman is in a world of hurt. He's being tortured by a crazed, Nazi dentist for no reason. And Roy Sheider's no help, he's already dead!

"Marathon Man" is a great movie. Made in 1976 by John Schlesinger, it is a creative, dark and suspenseful story set in bleak 1970's New York city and Paris. Dustin Hoffman is "Babe", a compulsive runner in New York, living an innocent life in his small apartment. Roy Scheider appears as his brother, and brings him no end of trouble, including the aforementioned torture at the hands of Lawrence Olivier, who plays the very evil "der Wiebe Engle", or "White Angel", a Nazi dentist from Auschwitz. Of course diamonds are also involved, and FBI intrigue, and murder.

Within this fairly standard international drama is some really innovative film-making, and some very effective tension building, topped off by the occasional really shocking scene! The look of the film is uncomfortable and bleak. Harsh, dark, and like the infamous last scene of the final Soprano's episode, filled with apparently random shots, made to build suspense without a release. The soundtrack is eerie, also building tension with focus on the squeaking of a baby stoller's wheel, Hoffman's harsh breathing as he runs, and long silences, permeated with a sharp synthesized sound whenever Olivier's Nazi appears.
You know you're shocked when your mouth actually drops open in surprise, and that happened several times to me! There is an unbelievable scene where a nearly naked Roy Schieder violently fights with a huge, crazy blue-eyed Chinese man in his hotel room.
Another frightening, incredible scene is when the White Angel Nazi is trying to sell diamonds in the jewish quarter and is recognized on the street by a woman from the concentration camp. The panic and bleak clarity in that scene is what's great about the actors and the director of this movie.
A great reflection of the 1970's, with all the dash of international intrigue and a liberal dose of brutality. Also enjoy William Devane as a creepy agent.

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