Re: RARA-AVIS: To Live and Die in L.A.

Date: 01 Oct 2001


Re your points below:

> I've never liked the film. Or actually, I don't know
> what to think of
> it. It's visually stunning and fast-moving, but
> then, as always in
> Friedkin's films, the emotions and the intellectual
> concerns leave me
> cold. The movie is contradictory at least and it
> never decides whether
> the William Petersen character is a hero or not. To
> me he is just a
> boring macho with a mission, but the movie never
> seems to notice that
> there could (and probably should, too) be criticism
> pointed toward him.
> He's criticized at first, but then he gets away as a
> hero in the
> (unintentionally funny) ending.

The plot of the book differs considerably. In the book there are two sets of agents going after the bad guy, one the Peterson character and his partner, the other a middle-aged guy who's about to retire. The Peterson character and his partner are (as in the film) doing anything they can, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, to get their quarry. The about-to-retire guy is sticking pretty much to the book.


In the end, it's the cop who played it straight who gets the bad guy. The Peterson character ends up dead, and his partner is arrested and fired.

In an earlier book, ONE-SHOT DEAL, Peteivitch's only series character, veteran Secret Service Agent Charles Carr is lecturing a class of rookie treasury agents.

He advises them against crossing certain lines because, a) it's what separates the good guys from the bad guys and b) any bad guys you nail by going beyond the pale isn't going to get that much punishment anyway, so why risk your career for such a small satisfaction.

In EARTH ANGELS the portagonist, though an undoubted hero, also steps over the line. Though he achieves a measure of success, he ends up having to leave law enforcement.

Petievtich seems to be a guy who believes in the rules, or at least belives there should be consequences for the cops who break 'em.


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