Thursday, September 11, 2008
4th movie watched for noir month, and I'm still working on my set. Some Netflixes should show up this weekend, so there should be more variety soon:
Detective Story: I should probably have labeled this category more broadly, because I just meant to describe the subgenre, and I guess I was expecting more of these to be detective movies for some reason. Oh well, too late now, I'm George Bushing this one, stay the course. This is not a detective story, although there is a detective character in a small role. This is a crime story, albiet a pretty ridiculous one.
Twisty, Turny Plot: A little bit, although mostly it's just absurd. I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way. It's about a femme fatale who steals the corpse of her recently executed (via gas chamber) boyfriend, and revives him with some weird, rare chemical that is apparently the antidote to the gas they use in the gas chamber. Not to save his life, but to find out where he stashed some loot. Sounds pretty silly, but they kind of treat the material with a straight face. Kind of.
Moral Ambiguity: Well, this is one of those crime movies where pretty much everybody is completely rotten. And since you're reveling in their bad behavior, you actively want them to do the wrong thing because it's more fun. You're rooting for all these people to screw each other over and kill each other off to get the money.
Sweet-ass Shadowy Black and White Cinematography: Yes, this is not the best looking or best made noir I've watched for Noir Month, but it might have been the most overtly stylized. I was particularly fond of the POV shot from a guy dying in the gas chamber, and the weird, misty swamp that the characters end up in near the end. It's not the work of a master, but I do appreciate all the effort.
Overall Quality: Decent, I liked it, but it was probably my least favorite noir so far. ("Noir so far"?! That rhymes!). It had the weakest script and spotty acting in places. It's all told in a dying person's flashback for no discernable reason, except maybe to be like Double Indemnity or something. The twist ending isn't much of a shock. Still though, the plot is so silly, and the movie keeps throwing in weird details that I couldn't help but like it. It's desire to entertain is genuine, and I appreciated it's weirdness.
Like I said though, enjoyable but my least favorite so far:
1. Act of Violence
2. Crime Wave (had I thought of it, I would have watched this in a double feature with Sam Raimi's early, Coen Brothers penned comedy Crimewave. Oh well.)
3. Mystery Street