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406 Ratings

Force of Evil

Directed by Abraham Polonsky
United States, 1948
Film noir


Lawyer Joe Morse wants to consolidate all the small-time numbers racket operators into one big powerful operation. But his elder brother Leo is one of these small-time operators who wants to stay that way, preferring not to deal with the gangsters who dominate the big-time.

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Force of Evil Directed by Abraham Polonsky

Critics reviews

…FORCE OF EVIL applies an unexpectedly fierce Group Theatre intensity to its fastidiously melodramatic material. Strangely, its pretensions burnish its sui generis realism, which in turn supports its instinctively argumentative (and deeply Jewish) moral investigation. Even more than BODY AND SOUL and HE RAN ALL THE WAY, FORCE OF EVIL exploits the guilt-ridden magnetism of John Garfield, too long shoehorned in earlier pictures as a generic romantic lead.
February 07, 2014
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The idea that obsesses Polonsky in both these movies [Force of Evil and Body and Soul] is that people who sell themselves for money become like it: they have no moral opinions, no memories, they don’t think. They become like Tucker, for whom the whole world is “rocks and stones.” Joe’s final vision is of his brother’s body washed up on the rocks like garbage. He sees the world through Tucker’s eyes; it is a world made of nothing but money and fear.
April 11, 2013
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Garfield’s likably unlikable protagonist provides Force of Evil with a semblance of cohesiveness, even if the film often feels like the product of dueling fetishes and pet symbols.
August 07, 2012
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