Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Set Up

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I think I saw this in Patrick's DVD collection, and heard it was a good one. So here we go:

Notable Talent: Director Robert Wise is famous for movies like The Sound of Music and West Side Story, but I'll always love him for The Curse of the Cat People. Seriously, it's a wonderful movie. I wasn't familiar with actor Robert Ryan before noir month, but he was in my (excellent) first selection, Act of Violence. After these two, I may need to seek out more of his movies.

Detective Story: This is a crime story, but only kinda. It's about an aging boxer, desperate for one last shot, whose managers take money from some shady characters for him to throw the fight. Only he doesn't realize this. And in a neat touch, the movie seems to take place in real time.

Twisty, Turny Plot: This one is very character driven, with everything hinging on what the boxer is going to do, especially once he finds out what's going on. Everything plays out with a kind of cruel kind of logic or inevitability.

Moral Ambiguity: I'm not sure if this counts, but the central dilemma definitely makes the audience feel conflicted. You want to boxer to stand up for himself, to win the fight, but on the other hand, you realize that things probably won't turn out so well if he does so. 

Sweet-ass Shadowy Black and White Cinematography: One of the best looking noirs I've watched this month. We get all the smoky bars and shadowy back alleys one could hop for. And the boxing arena looks incredible.

Overall Quality: My favorite noir month entry so far. This is a short but engrossing and exciting story, strongly character driven, that feels both tragic and yet strangely satisfying. 

1) The Set Up
2) Act of Violence
3) Crime Wave
4) Night and the City
5) The Big Steal
6) Illegal
7) Shoot the Piano Player
8) Gun Crazy
9) Mystery Street
10) Decoy

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