Buy Now: PRIME CUT
In 1972, American producer, writer and director Michael Ritchie made a controversial film called Prime Cut, starring Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman and a twenty-three-year-old Sissy Spacek in her first credited movie role. With a screenplay written by Robert Dillon, Prime Cut follows Nick Devlin (Marvin), a mob enforcer tasked with collecting a debt from meatpacker crime lord Mary Ann (Hackman). The latter is in charge of a human trafficking ring consisting of female virgins and enabled by a girl’s orphanage front. Saying that Prime Cut is shocking, violent and vile in its depiction of the evil that men do would be an understatement. Naked girls being drugged, caged and sold off as if they were cattle, visceral depictions of animals being slaughtered—once witnessed, such scenes can never be unseen.
Ritchie does not hold anything back, offering us an uncompromising look at the worst of what humanity has to offer. Instead of turning his head the other way, he simply goes all in and shoves the depravity down the viewers’ throats without a moment’s notice. Needless to say, he is aided in his objective by the fantastic Gene Hackman, whose performance as the cruel Mary Ann is diabolically good. Despite its shock value (or perhaps because of it), the film garnered positive reviews upon its release and has been praised in recent years for its bold filmmaking.