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Paul Schrader

December 30, 1996

Schrader (born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on July 22, 1946) is not only a well-known independent filmaker, but a respected screenwriter as well. Among his writing credits, they include his collaborations with Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980)) and the adaptation of Paul Theroux's The Mosquito Coast (1986). After he established his reputation with Scorsese, he made a stunning directorial debut with the realistic look at Union workers, Blue Collar (1978). His follow-up film work has been ambitious stories, that seem to deal in the connection between sex, death and violence.

Such films as Hardcore (1979), American Gigolo (1980) and the horror-remake Cat People (1982) gained huge cult followings among the paying public, but received mixed reviews from the critics. In 1985, he attracted good attention with Mishima, a multi-layered look at the popular Japanese author and his stories. His subsequent film work has been neither succesful nor as notorious as his earlier work. His main problem is that the graphic sex and ultra-violence tend to overshadow the story (if any) in his films. His earlier work was much more restrained when it came to those particular themes. Still, he has a chance at being a potentiallly great director in league with Scorsese, Coppola, Kubrick and Peckinpah.

My rating on a scale of 1 to 10:7

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