Hexagore’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watched the Warner Bros. Blu-ray.
I can imagine this having a huge impression on a 7-year old Quentin Tarantino at the cinema. His films are basically an ensemble of cool-cat characters bursting off the screen with their personas, much like Steve McQueen's cool-as-ice Frank Bullitt.
"Bullitt" is basically a departure from stereotypical police procedural action movies, getting rid of the old Hollywood theatrics and replacing it with neo-gritty realism permeating throughout the seventies.
The 10-minute car chase featured in this film without any sped-up footage but with cars really driving 100 - 110 miles per hour with amazing stunt work was the blue-print for every car chase that followed and was copied as far as going into the eighties. A magnificent feat for a film from 1968.
Frank Bullitt is a an all-guts no-glory tired police officer with his beautiful wife waiting for him at home (Jacqueline Bisset).
One day he's approached by senator Chalmers (Robert Vaughn) to protect an important eye-witness for 48 hours who needs to testify and expose a mob organisation. Of course, things don't go exactly as planned.
Steve McQueen brought this character to live by letting his co-stars doing most of the talking with him mostly responding with his face or with short bursts of highly-quotable dialogue. The moments he's berated by Robert Vaughn's character who threatens to destroy his career, he just bursts off the scene, ignoring his threats altogether, being more powerful than responding with straight-forward dialogue. I sure got a kick out of his cool and calm demeanor. The complete opposite of Clint Eastwood's Harry Callahan in "Dirty Harry (1971)" who's angry at everyone all the time. They're both damn' cool in their own right!
McQueen did most of his driving stunts himself and actually lied down between the wheels of a taxying airplane during a chase on foot.
That's not to say this film is brimming with action sequences, actually these were few and very far between, but the movie to me was never boring. The moments of violence had impact and easily took me through the entire experience.
So, another classic I can cross off the list. This one got old gracefully with Lalo Schifrin's jiving jazzy score creating a mood piece every filmmaker wants to recreate nowadays. The editing deservedly won an academy award with the opening title sequence being an amazing thing of beauty.