John Carpenter´s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
I love films which take place on small/isolated places, where it is created a very tense situation. That makes me a fan of films like Romero´s Dead Triology, Polansky´s Death and the Maiden, The Telephone (the first part of Bava´s horror anthology Black Sabbath) and... John Carpenter´s Assault on Precinct 13.
The film takes place in a semi-abandoned police station, where the cops on guard and some death row convicts have to unite against a gang that has taken the place under siege.
This is one of Carpenter´s earlier films, and maybe the rawest. You can definitly see the Carpenter trademarks here: the slow-paced scenes, the score, the use of light (or lack of it)... it is all here.
The plot is extremily simple, but also efective and I certanitly felt very interested as it unfolded. This is for most part because the caracters are well introduced and well constructed. High rates for Napoleon Wilson (Darwin Joston) which can be considered as an early sketch for Snake Plissken, and Leigh, which is supremly interperted by Laurie Zimmer.
This takes me to my favorite aspect in the film: atmosphere. the very tense situation (ex: the gang using silenced rifles in the dark) is extremly well phtographed with the use of very dark colors. The main set (the police station) fits the film very well.
The score is typical Carpenter (so you can guess I like it), composed mainly by synths, very high-pintched in the moments of the story when the adrenaline flows faster, opposing to the slower moments where it is mainly composed by bass lines.
Most memorable scenes: the shooting of the little girl can be shocking and probably wouldn´t make it in modern hollywood films.
Then you have the whole action packed last 45 minutes.