It's one of those movies whose premise sounds ludicrous: four down-on-their-luck men are hired to transport nitroglyercin across a South American jungle. 90 minutes of the 150 minute run time follows them on this path. Verrrrrrry sloooowly. Even knowing the eventual fate of each of the protagonists--I am a sucker for spoliers on Wikipedia--it's still riveting material that can return to the same basic beats without becoming repetitious.
Adventures in Cultural Consumption
The Wages of Fear: After reading Germinal the word that seemed most appropriate was 'cinematic,' since Zola put so much effort into rendering physical spaces and actions in the most epic terms. There I expressed some doubt that a movie could translate that sort of narrative pressure, since the novelist's great advantage is the time it takes to physically read the story: the action must crawl, even when it races in the narrative, and this ratchets up the tension. The Wages of Fear is a thriller whose action is best describable as novelistic.