Saturday Night Fever
Directed by John Badham
Starring John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Joseph Cali, Paul Pape, Barry Miller
Paramount Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Saturday Night Fever is a portrait of a particular passion drowning as much as it can life’s harsh and unforgiving reality. Almost as if he’s hypnotized, John Travolta‘s Tony Manero struts down the streets of Brooklyn in a black jacket that’s worn over a red buttoned-up shirt that’s not fully buttoned. He’s brim full of confidence even while carrying a can of paint he got for his boss at the hardware store. He doesn’t know he’s carrying that can, doesn’t know that he’s at the age of nineteen and still universally entrenched in his dreams, and he doesn’t know anything else that isn’t relevant to dancing. His mind and thoughts are unable to resist what the night holds for him and his equally confident friends at the disco dance hall in the 2001 Odyssey club. The present is what matters to Manero, not the future: “Fuck the future,” he tells his boss.
Tony from the start of the movie is a different Tony when the film reaches its end. It’s a beautiful character study. Watching him progress from his rebel attitude into manhood as the movie deepens is what makes director John Badham‘s Saturday Night Fever a great film. Bedham knows what he’s doing when he laces his film with vulgarity, booze, sex, and more vulgarity. He’s doing it for a reason. The multitude and excess of such actions are used to make the audience as familiar with it as Tony is. Exposure to this makes Tony a one dimensional character. He’s surrounded by a wrecked home life, reckless friends, and a passion for dancing; a great talent but becomes obscured when applied to the future of Tony. Bedham believes strongly in this atmosphere so strongly that when an outsider attempts to wedge their way in they are looked upon as a foreigner, even though they seem to be more mature, successful and promising.
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