WUSA (1970)

wusa

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 1 out of 10

4-Word Review:  Liberal working for conservatives.

A drifter (Paul Newman) travels to Louisiana and gets a job as a DJ at an ultra-conservative radio station. Despite being a professed liberal he decides to go along with the right-wing rhetoric because he has grown apathetic with things and now just wants to ‘blend-in’.

The idea has a lot of potential, but it is never able to take off. Part of the problem is that instead of trying to play it like satire in the Network vein it instead approaches it with pinpoint seriousness and saturates the viewer with a gloom and doom message. The long and winding stream of social complexities makes the viewer, as with the main character, grow apathetic. The ‘powerful’ statements are redundant and too engulfed with the politics of its day to give anything that is broadly insightful.

It is easy to see why this is probably Newman’s most forgettable film. There is nothing unique or even slightly diverting about it and it meanders badly with no action whatsoever. The ‘exciting’ mob scene at the end looks staged and unconvincing.

The film has leanings as a character study, but even they are weak. Newman’s angry loner role is simply a less intense version of his Hud character. Joanne Woodward as the prostitute with a ‘heart of gold’ is clichéd and dull. Anthony Perkins is the only one that comes off as interesting, but it’s not enough to save it.

This is a truly limp and lifeless picture and I would be amazed if there was anyone out there who would like it.

My Rating: 1 out of 10

Released: August 19, 1970

Runtime: 1Hour 55Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Studio: Paramount

Available: DVD, Blu-ray 

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