Bullitt ★★★★★

I have no idea why I came to watch "Bullitt" with an expectation of an action movie. On second thought, I think I do, because whenever this film is mentioned, it is almost invariably in the context of car chases. So, here I was expecting an adrenaline-fuelled piece of entertainment and what I got was a very stoic and suspenseful police procedural thriller that has more in common with "Vertigo" than with any action film you could imagine.

Yes, exactly: a one-word review of "Bullitt" can be boiled down to 'Hitchcockian'. It is undeniable that Peter Yates drew immensely from the master of suspense himself. The staging, atmosphere, sparse scoring, camera techniques and the very interesting aesthetic choice of shooting through mirrors, windows and wind-shields, not to mention San Francisco as a setting and the fact that a good chunk of the film is shot from the inside of cars made it apparent to me that there is a very distinct line connecting "Bullitt" to Hitchcock and his masterpiece "Vertigo".

I could talk for hours about this film and dissect it shot by shot, because this is how much fun I had just with the filmmaking craft behind "Bullitt". And maybe one day I will, but for now I shall limit myself to saying that it was a phenomenally pleasurable experience. "Bullitt" is tense, extremely entertaining and I should really recommend it to any young film fan who grew up in the current climate of Marvel movies and "Fast and Furious" series as a window into how it used to be possible to make a thrilling film with minimalist approach and how 'less used to be more'.

As for myself, I think I'm in love with this movie and with Steve McQueen as the leading man. I'm definitely going to make a habit of revisiting "Bullitt" and I'm pretty sure that the closer I look, the more I'll be aware of not only how much of an ode to the old masters it was, but also how influential it became for the next generation of filmmakers, like William Friedkin, or Michael Mann.

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