This ferocious gangster biopic indulges in none of the nostalgia for the Depression or glamorisation of its anti-heroes so prevalent in most such movies. The tone is almost existential: wisely, Boetticher defines his protagonist not through psychology but through action.
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Cinema as portrait: Jack Diamond is presented as a liar, a violent opportunist, and callous sociopath, because he was one. Given no scene of redemption, Rise and Fall is an unflinching portrait of man as metaphor for hell. "There's no bullet that can kill me."