VIDEO ARCHIVES WEEK: Rage (1972)

VIDEO ARCHIVES NOTES: This movie was discussed on the December 20, 2022 episode of the Video Archives podcast and can be found on their site here.

Rage is directed by its star, George C. Scott, and it’s about Wyoming sheep rancher Dan Logan and his son, whose livestock and lives are ruined by an Army helicopter spraying them with nerve gas. Military doctor Major Holliford (Martin Sheen) keeps them separated, lies to them about their condition and uses this accident as a test to see how the human body reacts to this weapon.

Not well. Because Logan’s son dies and he has hours left on this Earth. Even his family physician Dr. Caldwell (Richard Basehart) can no longer help him. The military answers to no one, no higher power, and as Logan wanders the hospital, he finds his son in the morgue. He wasn’t even told his child is dead and here he is, torn to pieces on a table, examined and studied.

All he has left is a need to destroy, to stop the company that made the gas. And when he returns to the military base, his body has given out and all he can do is fall to the ground, all so Holliford can collect one last blood sample as the dead body of a man caught in the machine is flown away.

Man, 1972 was the most downer of all cinematic years.

Scott may not be the best director, but he’s amongst the finest actors of his time. His near impotence in the face of coverups and the smiling faces of doctors who are going to just keep lying to him, keeping him trapped in the hospital and promising that everything is fine is so real that it created actual anger inside me. Because this feels too real, this feels like it could, can and does happen and people like Logan are the ones ground up and disappeared when things out of their control go wrong.

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