Medium Cool

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"Beyond the age of innocence... into the age of awareness."
  • R
  • 1969
  • 1 hr 50 min
  • 7.2  (4,680)
  • 87

Medium Cool is a critically acclaimed drama film directed by Haskell Wexler and released in 1969. The movie stars Robert Forster as John Cassellis, a television news cameraman who struggles with the ethical implications of his job during a time of political and social upheaval. Verna Bloom plays Eileen, a poor single mother who becomes involved with John, while Peter Bonerz plays Gus, John's wise-cracking soundman.

Set against the backdrop of the turbulent events that took place in America during the summer of 1968, Medium Cool explores themes such as power, responsibility, and personal morals. The movie is a result of a unique stylistic choice and an inspired use of documentary footage, making it an innovative and groundbreaking work of cinema.

At the start of the film, John arrives in Chicago to cover the Democratic National Convention. He is immediately confronted with the reality of the situation, discovering that both the police and the anti-war protesters are using violent tactics against each other. As John struggles to navigate this dangerous situation, he develops a relationship with Eileen, a struggling Appalachian who has moved to the city to provide for her son.

As the tension in the city of Chicago rises, so do the conflicts within John's personal life. Faced with constant moral dilemmas, he is forced to confront the limitations of his job and the effects it has on his own sense of justice. Meanwhile, Eileen becomes caught up in the protest movement, leading the pair in a collision course between the personal and political.

One of the most significant aspects of Medium Cool is its use of documentary footage. Instead of relying purely on scripted scenes, the movie is interspersed with real footage of riots, protests, and police brutality. This technique creates a seamless blend between fact and fiction, bringing an unparalleled level of realism to the film.

The performances of the main cast members are also worth noting. Robert Forster delivers a powerful performance as John, portraying the character's inner turmoil with captivating intensity. Verna Bloom matches him with a nuanced portrayal of Eileen, playing the character's ups and downs with honesty and depth. Peter Bonerz provides some much-needed comic relief as Gus, adding a touch of levity to the film's more intense moments.

Overall, Medium Cool is a masterpiece of cinema that remains relevant to this day. Its unique approach to storytelling, use of documentary footage, and themes of personal responsibility and ethical dilemmas are incredibly powerful. The film presents a raw and unflinching depiction of a turbulent moment in American history, making it a must-see for anyone interested in the art of cinema.

Medium Cool
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 50 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (4,680)
  • Metascore