Nicolò Grasso’s review published on Letterboxd:
Original Title: Bullitt
Year of Release: 1968
Genres: Crime; Action Thriller; Drama
Director: Peter Yates
Writers: Alan Trustman, Harry Kleiner; Robert L. Fish
Main Cast: Steve McQueen, Don Gordon, Robert Vaughn, Simon Oakland, Felice Orlandi, Pat Renella, Jacqueline Bisset, Carl Reindel, Paul Genge
70/100 of A Decade Called 1960s: 2018-19 Edition
Bullitt is a classic police procedural most notable for its central car chase. This 1968 flick predates much of the neo-noir realistic films of the 70s, using real locales and shooting almost everything on streets and airports without using backdrops or cinematic tricks. The look and jazzy score by Schifrin instantly make this a much more grounded in reality thriller, one whose calm and calculated pacing ends up being hugely beneficial in how tense and exciting the action scenes are.
The car chase is nothing short of spectacular, both in staging, camerawork, stunts (nearly got sick when they were going down the downward street), and especially editing. However, it unfortunately outshines a tense hospital foot chase and an enthralling and masterful airport chase (when they are on the airfield reminded me of the climax of Mann's Heat).
Mc Queen oozes coolness throughout the entire film, even if he plays a complex character that would feel more at home in a Melville film, for much of his development is shown visually and through small mannerisms rather than showy monologues.
What I love about watching older action films is how this, probably even more than horror, is the genre that has changed the most throughout the decades. Something like this would barely be a success nowadays, and audiences with short attention spans would classify it as being boring. While it is definitely slowly paced, it's a wonderfully made and tense crime thriller, with great performances, terrific editing, and standout action scenes.
Visual Effects: 9
Violence & Gore: 8
Sex & Nudity: 2
Drugs & Profanity: 2
Intensity & Horror: 6