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Casablanca Review

Does the poster spoil the ending? Let’s hope not, although this is a classic so you’ve probably seen it already. If not, then I’d recommend checking it out. It’s not an elite all star film like you may have heard, but it’s a good story. The romance is rather lackluster though and downright bad by the end. Press 1 if you feel bad for the Rebound Guy who shall never know his own fate. This film’s definitely been remembered for many generations and will always stay as a classic so let’s see what the film theoretically did right and what it may have done wrong.

The film takes place during the time where Germany had occupied France. Rick has a little bar that’s going smoothly, but that’s when some Germans arrive looking for a resistance member. Rick has attained a pair of passports that can let the resistance member safely escape the country, but he doesn’t want to give them up because he now has the opportunity to destroy the woman who gave him the slip many years ago and crushed whatever romance they may have had back in the day. Rick never forgets a grudge, but will he ultimately decide to put his feelings to the side so that he can help stop the Nazi’s?

Rick really had a good thing going for him, but Laszlo and Ilsa’s appearance throws a curveball into his life. We rarely know when we are about to make a choice that will alter our life forever, but have to do the best that we can. Of course, it’s hard to just help an old enemy so easily and Rick is naturally upset. Worse, the Nazi’s now know that he has a history of helping the resistance stop the oppressors so he has come under great scrutiny. He’s on friendly terms with the chief of France’s police, but that might not help him all that much if the Germans really do start to go after him.

Rick’s a classic retro hero who’s very confident and can casually respond to the enemy banter. He’s not a bad main character and is far more likable than the leads of the last few films that I watched. He does make things very dangerous for the other characters for most of the film, but ultimately makes the right choices….for the most part. He helps some people flee the country and does help the resistance. The one wrong choice that he made was having a one night affair with Ilsa even though he knew that she was married.

I’m referring to near the end as he didn’t know that she was married the first time. That one was on her, but he certainly could have simply denied her the last time, but chose to accept her offering before sending her on her way. It was not a good move and Rick proved that he was not as heroic as he could have been. The wise thing to do there would have been to have just given them the passports if he had been planning to do so or to have gone along the plan without that move. It also makes things sad for Laszlo.

Unlike some of the other guys, Laszlo may realize that he is the rebound guy, but it’s definitely not a whole lot better for him. Knowing that you are the rebound guy must be incredibly hard to bear and honestly it can make you doubt everything. It’s one of the reasons why you should be incredibly careful when choosing your partner. It’s so that you can actually trust her when you have to be gone for a few months. In the beginning, Ilsa thought that Laszlo was dead of course so it’s not as bad. Of course, what you could say is bad is the fact that she got over it so quickly and moved on to another man. Why are the characters all so easy? It would probably be even worse if this was a modern film. At least the romance is handled tastefully for the most part….the last romance scene notwithstanding.

It’s a fairly pleasant film and one of those well written films that you don’t really see nowadays. The characters all come across as intelligent and even when they’re threatening each other it’s always very civil. Naturally it can be a little long for some as not everyone will enjoy the long conversations, but given the positive reviews around the board, I think it’s safe to say that most people enjoyed the interactions. They’re definitely solid and the film never dragged on for me because it was all very interesting. It would have been great to have had a quick epilogue where some Americans came in to take down all of the Nazi’s, but maybe that would have taken too long.

The film did a good job of throwing in some context and backdrop for the characters. Even though the film had to get into the plot right away, you got a good sense of the town and the people there. They may have been beaten, but they weren’t broken and they were still fighting hard to stay upbeat. The scene where they play their anthem over the German one was definitely a good one and watching everyone talk about how they wanted to leave was a nice subtle way of showing the condition over in Paris. We never actually saw that the conditions were poor, but still knew it through this, which is a solid way of expanding the universe. Subtlety can definitely be a great tactic.

Overall, Casablanca is a good film that lives up to its reputation as a solid romance. It’s not world shattering, but I’m not a big romance fan so it equals out. Aside from the needless romance scene between Ilsa and Rick (A romance that I definitely don’t think is award worthy) the film really didn’t have any flaws and made for an enjoyable experience. It’s a fairly calm film with very few action scenes, but it’s meant to be more about the choice that Rick has to make. Will he make the right one or won’t he? I’m glad to say that he did make the right choice and turned out to be a decent person. There was even some room for a sequel where we could see Rick in the resistance. That would be neat although it could be sad if handled wrong. If you’re looking for a pleasant romance then this is a good film to check out.

Overall 7/10