Blue Steel

Screening on Film
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.
With Jamie Lee Curtis, Ron Silver, Clancy Brown.
US, 1989, 35mm, color, 102 min.
Print source: MGM

With Blue Steel, Bigelow wrote and directed one of the rare contemporary police thrillers that can be read on another level—as a pointed questioning of whether the Hollywood action film, with its deep roots in misogynistic violence, can be used to critique itself. Jamie Lee Curtis stands out as a zealous rookie policewoman whose career choice poses an overt challenge to the patriarchal norm, a point provocatively made by Bigelow’s artful emphasis on the blatant phallocentrism of the policeman’s tools and trade. Frighteningly fast-paced and suspenseful, Blue Steel follows the increasingly disorienting cat-and-mouse game that suddenly unfolds between the novice cop and a vicious killer. For all of its intellectual sophistication, Blue Steel remains a viscerally charged experience, seething with palpable anger, sorrow and fear.

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Kathryn Bigelow –
Filmmaking at the Dark Edge of Exhilaration

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