4.5...tightly scripted and structured programmers are usually the territory of precodes, not late 40s noir, but this one is a nasty little throwback to that kind of sock-it-to-'em in 60 minutes spirit. lawrence tierney is twice as tough and heartless as cagney, chester morris or any of 30s goons...they don't make 'em like tierney anymore. and for once, a code ending is a relief from all the dirt you witness!
mean, blunt, dripping with black humor, not a wasted moment, the genuine cult-masterpiece film noir artifact. feels good to think there could be more like this one out there. Machiavellian Lawrence Tierney keeps getting distracted from his getaway by the appearance of new evil shit to do.