Oi Polloi

Cool in the Movies

Published: Thu Sep 29 2011

The chap behind the cult Oneupmanship Journal tells us about a couple of his cinematic idols. Strangely, they’re both wearing nice clothes, many of which you’ll find similar examples of here. Was that a clumsy enough sale pitch? Yep… We’ll let Dan take it from here.

I’ll start with Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger (1975), featuring Jack Nicholson in a much less larger than life role we are used to.

This mysterious drama is famed for it’s stunning cinematography and notable groundbreaking final scene, a seven minute continuous shot which seems to defy all gravity, not to mention bars on the window. Nicholson plays David Locke, a television reporter currently stuck in the Sahara and tired of absolutely everything. In a bid to escape himself he assumes the identity of a recently deceased man – who by coincidence looks very much like him.

Unbeknownst to our man David, the recent stiff is actually a gunrunner with several deals to still be done. This sees a paranoid, existential journey across the globe to keep the deceased man’s appointments and business deals, pursued by baddies and a curious old friend from the BBC

Taking in London, Munich, Barcelona and Seville, it’s part road movie, part film noir and features some classic garms all the way through. Think plaid shirts, chinos, fatigue pants and shades for that classic lost in the desert at the end of your tether look. I’d love to know what that chambray over-shirt is he nicks off his dead mate, it’s that cool I’d probably do the same.

Next up is Serpico (1973). If you ever doubted how cool Al Pacino is as honest cop Frank Serpico, then remember the fact that both Dirk Diggler (Boogie Nights) and Tony Manero (Saturday Night Fever) had the poster on their bedroom walls.

Directed by Sidney Lumet in between the two Godfather films, Pacino gives one of the performances of his life in a film set in and around the gritty old New York. He refuses to take a bung and will bring down the corruption around him even if it nearly kills him.

Serpico’s a hippy, he has a big ‘Dulux’ dog, a little mouse and a caterpillar, in fact that might be his tash.

The idealist, iconoclastic copper really comes into his own when sent undercover. His outfits throughout go from superb to bordering on the ridiculous but he pulls each and every one of them off like the dude that he is.

Tune in next week when we hear about a couple more cinematic sartorialists.