Gripping film noir, featuring the best performance I've seen from Bogart. He's gritty, even ugly at times, but he holds an intensity, a power to his performance that's somehow also imbued with melancholy and a sadness in his eyes. That's not all there is to it, though. Gloria Grahame is stunning too; the perfect foil to Bogart's Steele.
i had a very specific idea of what this movie was going to be like. after seeing Johnny Guitar, my idea didn't change so much as my anticipation ratcheted up. this was, maybe inevitably, not at all what i was expecting. it was, in a word ... so procedural! Bogie is fine, Gloria is gorgeous, there are some funny bit characters, some memorable shots, but the bone brittle conceit just didn't hold for me.
Ray delves into identity with a bleakness that makes other noir films look like The Sound of Music. His ambiguity twists the Hitchcockian tradition of "wrong man, wrong time" - the wrongly accused man is driven by the same impulse as the criminal; given the circumstances, he would perform the same deeds. This is Bogart's greatest performance, a character study of genius.
The generally wonderful dialogue-- with its eloquent turns of phrase and memorable lines-- can't support the lackadaisical plot and the mostly non-effective melodrama, at least, until the last minutes of heart-wrenching perfection. This could've been much more exciting, instead, it's a much-too mellow effort from Ray, with a typical hard-ass performance by Bogart, that's serviceable, but quite predictable.
An even more caustic, if less straightforward, assessment of Hollywood than Sunset Boulevard. A world so insulated that even the apartments face inward where once hopeful artistic aspirants are ground into self-absorbed, self-destructive, self-loathing downandouters. If you like noir, this should be on your shortlist of must sees.
I lived while she loved me, how we cling to self pity when nothing and no one else is to cling to, and how tragic it is that we bring about to ourselves our own misery, and call it art and artistry and tortuous feeling, and how is it that I might write 'I', instead of 'we', for I will take this myth of hopelessness and misery at its word and swallow every frame, and wallow like a pig in my own loneliness, and love it
A wonderful noir thriller that plays with the notion of innocence, guilt and blind love. Just because someone is innocent of one crime, doesn't mean they are innocent of all. Nicholas Ray plays the suspense at a low boil for the majority of the film, letting doubt and fear gradually build up into a frenzy.