****/**** Image B Sound B Extras A+
starring Rutger Hauer, John Hurt, Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Hopper
screenplay by Alan Sharp, adaptation by Ian Masters, based on the novel by Robert Ludlum
directed by Sam Peckinpah
by Walter Chaw
"We rely too much on sight, don't you think? Appearances being what they are."
And so encapsulates the genius and the madness of Sam Peckinpah's final film, the contentious, still-relevant The Osterman Weekend. Serving as a bridge of sorts between the psychosexual circus of Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill (1980) and the technology/media fear of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) and David Cronenberg's Videodrome (1983), the film strikes a balance between the paranoia cinema of the 1970s and the technophilic sci-fi wonderland of the 1980s. It's brilliant--mark the ways that Peckinpah implies that every shot in the film is taken from a hidden camera for the pleasure of the audience. (A picture hasn't been this successful in indicting the criminal aspect of watching a movie since Hitchcock's heyday.) More than brilliant, like the best of Peckinpah's films, it gets under your skin with scalpel-grace. He made films of intimate violation--of rape, essentially; when you stare into the abyss of Peckinpah's pictures, Peckinpah stares into you.