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672 Ratings

Brute Force

Directed by Jules Dassin
United States, 1947
Crime, Drama, Film noir


Burt Lancaster is the worn-down Joe Collins, who, along with his fellow inmates, lives under the heavy thumb of the sadistic guard Captain Munsey. Only Collins’s dreams of escape keep him going, but how can he possibly bust out of Munsey’s chains?

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Brute Force Directed by Jules Dassin

Critics reviews

Dassin later referred to the film as a “really dumb picture” and remembers saying, “but all these prisoners are such nice sweet guys—they’re all so lovely—what are they doing in jail!” (Sarcasm aside, he has a point. This black-and-white, baddies-and-goodies approach somewhat undermines its convictions.) Still, the emotional depth eclipses both these amateurish failings and the noirish futility, and it certainly delivers a message, however unintentional it may be.
July 01, 2016
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Storm the tower, torch the cage: “Well, gentlemen, that’s one way of getting sprung.” War is the lynchpin of the furioso allegory, ingrown fascism suffuses the vertical structure of an uniformed sadist looking down on a captive lumpen-proletariat… Kubrick’s gladiators and Peckinpah’s desperados alike are anticipated in a riot culminating in an image from Overthrow of the Titans, though not even Molotov cocktails can crack the grid.
January 01, 2010
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