Escape from New York (Carpenter, 1981)
Carpenter creates a world and atmosphere of fear and peril that isn’t so much frightening as it is disquieting. We don’t have a clue what kinds of happenings have occurred in the makeshift prison that is New York in this film; we only have clues of the damage and destruction, both physically and socially, that has reigned. When Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken enters the picture, he is asked to do one thing: bring the US president out of the city alive. Carpenter doesn’t get so caught up in his setting and backstory to the point where it distracts from the story at hand. He just lets it accompany and set the tone for what we find ourselves a part of.
Plissken as a true and real antihero is a plus as well. He’s not indestructible, he only looks out for himself, and there is no life lesson or forced change of heart to be found here. This is simply an action story set in a world whose reality is too close for comfort. 8/10