Ace in the Hole Review

It’s time to look at a film about how trying to get a story at the expense of a life may end up ruining things for everyone. I mean it’s a pretty clear message but it seemed to be a surprise to Chuck who suddenly starts regretting this a bit. It’s hard to rummage up any sympathy points for Chuck because the whole thing is completely his fault. It’s not like it’s only partially his fault or he didn’t know any better. He knew exactly what he was doing the entire time and this results in a rather unfortunate ending. It’s an interesting film but not one I would check out again.

The movie starts out with Chuck heading to another newspaper. He was fired yet again and is now known for being fired from the most papers. He’s been creative with how badly he’s failed though as he has been fired for being drunk, stealing someone’s wife, making up stories, etc. Well this next paper decides to hire him anyway since they’re nice like that. His first big assignment outside is going to be about a snake fight. Chuck doesn’t really care about this though and is glad to get sidetracked by a local tragedy. Leo has been trapped underground after wandering inside a cavern despite being told it was dangerous. Chuck realizes this is his big break. If he can stop anyone from saving Leo he can really exploit this event for big money. That’s exactly what he intends to do, but every day he stretches this out, Leo’s chances of recovery continue to dwindle.

The film definitely gives Chuck a whole lot of power here. Everyone listens to him unquestionably and he gets the upper hand on everyone. Even the guys called in to rescue Leo end up listening to Chuck and using the wrong method of recovery. Chuck does have a lot of confidence and tends to barrel right through everyone so I suppose the others didn’t want to mess with him. Part of why the plot works is because you have just enough powerful people in the wrong places. The Sheriff is corrupt and Leo’s wife actually likes Chuck and wants Leo dead anyway. Leo has really just got the worst luck here which is definitely pretty unfortunate for him. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong. I still find it a bit iffy that nobody pursued this further to try and free him before now. Just waiting on Chuck to do everything was pretty iffy. Unfortunately the only one who cared about Leo was his father who was quite old and wasn’t able to help much here.

This film’s main weakpoint is definitely the romance part. Leo’s wife liking Chuck feels like an extra plot point we don’t need. For the most part he shuts her down as he makes it clear that the story is the most important factor in his life, even more than romance for him. Chuck’s certainly dedicated. It’s particularly tragic for Leo since he doesn’t know any of this and thinks that his wife is readily awaiting his return. As the film goes on he never becomes wise to this and in a way I guess that would have been an extra blow. It makes Chuck look particularly bad with how he’s manipulating the guy though. Chuck’s clearly the villain here so definitely don’t get that sideways.

The writing is pretty solid though. There’s a lot of solid back and forth between all of the characters. Plans are made and every character’s got an angle. Chuck’s got everything sewn up so tight even the big papers start to beg him to return. He’s really got everything at this point which is really impressive in itself. The movie’s pacing is also pretty good. The opening may seem a little slow if you want to get to the main plot but I thought it did a pretty good job of setting Chuck up. He’s pretty straightforward on the fact that he’ll do anything for a story. He even convinces the youngest member of the group to go with him, thereby dooming both of them.

The ending’s definitely a downer though. I’d have preferred a different ending where Chuck still gets exposed but things go a bit better for Leo. The way his plot ends is particularly tragic since he thought right up til the end that he had a shot. He had absolutely no idea what was going on right outside. He was really just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The film never gives us a great explanation on why he was defying orders and going into caverns he wasn’t supposed to be in though. His confidence ultimately ended up costing him big time.

Overall, Ace in the Hole shows that while having 1 ace is good, two is better. Chuck ultimately needed a good backup plan and then maybe things wouldn’t have turned out so badly for him. He ultimately didn’t think things through well enough at all and it cost him when it counted. I was glad that the smaller newspaper actually tried to get involved at the end when the boss showed up and questioned how Chuck had fallen so low. To an extent this is on him for letting Chuck join but at the same time he couldn’t have known what was going on. All things considered I think he did a good job and he was an upstanding guy. The problem is that not everyone is in the biz for the right reasons and that ultimately ended up hurting them all.

Overall 4/10

Two Weeks in Another Town Review

It’s time to look at another film about a celebrity ruining his career and then seeing if he can make a comeback. It seems to be a bit of a classic plotline over the years. Unfortunately this one isn’t quite able to handle it. The film’s reasonably entertaining the whole time, but the ending is pretty sketchy and the romance plot here is also not one of the better ones. Jack definitely makes the most of his two weeks though and after lighting up the towns he should be tired enough to stay ready this time.

The movie opens up with Jack finally finished with his restoration after being a drunk for a while. His old pal Kruger the director has mailed him asking if Jack would like a big part in his new movie. When Jack gets there Kruger admits that it was all a scam and the psychiatrist asked him to write, but he’ll at least let Jack do the dubbing. Jack never lets an opportunity to make a quick buck slip away so he demands a raise and then takes the job. The tough part is he has to deal with the main actor Davie who really doesn’t care about the project at all. The guy is just here for the check and spends his days as drunk as can be. Jack doesn’t like this but there’s not much he can do about it either. At least there’s the heroine Veronica here. She’s currently in an abusive relationship with Davie so Jack decides to be her rebound guy. Can this possibly end well?

The film sets Davie up to be so antagonistic that there’s no way for you to buy into his redemption arc by the end. Veronica even gets a black eye at one point which shows just how bad Davie was. The film doesn’t get into it much deeper than that but tells you all you need to know about the guy. Davie also waves a knife around at Jack before getting subdued. Jack’s way too lenient at the guy and the way the romance plot ends is also not very satisfying. Davie’s just a pretty terrible character.

Unfortunately I can’t say that I liked Jack and Veronica very much either. Veronica seemed to rebound way too quickly. She got together with Jack with no real effort but ultimately went back to Davie very quickly. She seemed to be someone who was always trying to get some action so I don’t see their relationship being great long term. Jack’s no better though as he goes from Veronica to Carlotta with ease. Considering how tough he talked about not falling for Carlotta again he sure fell pretty easily. This is where the closing act just didn’t work for me. After he is betrayed, Jack takes it very hard and falls back into literally every single one of his old vices. He gets super drunk, he has an affair with Carlotta, and then he loses his mind and starts driving like a maniac. That scene’s definitely pretty terrible as the guy undoes all of his progress from the last few months.

The film quickly spins this into a happy ending after that somehow. With all the fights and property damage he caused the guy will probably get arrested the next week though. The only character here who seemed reasonable at first was Kruger. Then slowly but surely the film begins to break him down piece by piece until he’s just as bad as the others. First off, he cheats on his wife consistently. The film plays this off as a comedic subplot but it’s all pretty tragic. He also does this very openly so everyone in Hollywood knows about this which is even more humiliating to her. Kruger is only interested in making films and getting famous and it shows at the end when he decides to back stab Jack. I think Jack should have suspected as much since he seemed pretty cynical about showbiz at the start. I think he just allowed himself to get a little too hopeful and it’s a shame that doing so would get him in trouble.

So there are quite a few negatives I’ve got in the bag here like characters and romance, but one positive the film does have is the writing. I always enjoy the scripts from this era. Everyone just sounds very regal and the dialogue allows for good back and forth discussions with the characters. They’re all professional and make reasonable sounding arguments even if they’re actually crazy when you think about it. There’s always a lot of passive aggressive comments here as people rarely say what they actually mean. It’s really something to think about how people would actually speak like that back in the day because it’s certainly nothing like that in the modern day.

I’d also say that the pacing is good. The film will hold your interest as it’s going on and it never drags on. Each scene serves some kind of purpose so I wouldn’t say that there was any real filler here. Even if you don’t like the characters they still manage to be compelling which is important. It was nice to see Jack work as a director for a bit even if it didn’t ultimately work out. One character I did like was Kruger’s boss. That guy seemed very practical. He may not have said the things Kruger was hoping to hear but the guy clearly runs a tight ship and that’s important for a director.

Overall, Two Weeks in Another Town is a film with an idea that’s been tried in the past and it has been done more successfully. The problem here is that while the film does succeed in showing a cynical Hollywood where everyone is out to get you, it’s done without likable characters. All of the characters lose their morals when they need too. The film can be quite mean spirited. Basically this amounts to Jack going to another town and for two weeks making as much of a mess as he wants and then getting out quickly. While the ending suddenly tries to be a happy one it’s almost more of a grim ending since Jack ended up cracking once again. I’d say to skip it this time and you could watch almost any of Kirk Douglas’ other films and you’ll have a better time.

Overall 4/10

Seven Days in May Review

It’s time to look at an old film about a villain’s plans to overthrow the government. It’s always a pretty interesting plot and we’ve had some solid entries like White House Down over the years. Well, this one holds its own with those more action centered titles. There really aren’t any big fight scenes here so the film is relying on its strong story and script to win the day. This was a wise bet and the film ends up being very solid.

The movie starts with Jiggs working for his boss Scott as per usual. He shows his boss the military videos of the drills in case America went back into war and unfortunately all of the divisions look quite terrible. Scott laments that the government seems rather weak lately and heads off for another political rally. Everyone has been on edge lately because the U.S. has entered into a Nuclear weapons treaty with Russia. Both sides will disarm their nuclear weapons and will count on the other side to do the same. A great many people disagree with the policy including Jiggs and Scott. However, Jiggs believes that such thoughts should be kept quiet in their case since they are a part of the army. Jiggs is fairly high up in the government as he is able to personally meet with the President and even more so for Scott.

Scott doesn’t share this sentiment and doesn’t mind taking passive aggressive shots at President Lyman. Well, Jiggs can tolerate that, but then he notices an odd note in the war room. Coupled with other suspicious bits of information he informs Lyman that Scott may be planning a coup in 7 days. Lyman’s advisors all disregard this but the President believes it’s worth looking into. He sends all of his advisors to different spots to verify the information and now has to decide what to do if a coup is in the works. Handling this will be quite dangerous and must be done carefully or the country’s divided status will be exposed to foreign powers.

From the start this movies adds a good amount of tension and nuance. It’s not like these are random murderers trying to cause anarchy. Scott is simply a guy on the other side who became more and more extreme as time went on. With all the support he would receive at the rallies, this only helped to further push Scott to the edge until finally he went down this dark path. Most of the people we see seem to agree with Scott but as the President points out, when you put yourself in a small circle you tend to only hear those who agree with you. It’s why the term “Silent Majority” was created because a lot of times the opinions you hear the most may not be agreed with as much as it would seem.

I’ll give Lyman a lot of credit here for actually listening to Jiggs. In a lot of these films everyone discounts Jiggs immediately and it leads to trouble. The only reason the heroes are able to stay in this fight is because they acted right away. Lyman ultimately made the right move here and he’s a lot of fun as the President. He handles all of the situations very well and is portrayed as a wise man. It’s easy to see how he got elected as President.

My favorite character though as Lyman’s second in command, Paul. Paul initially doesn’t believe Jiggs at all, but when Lyman gives him the orders, Paul follows them to the letter. He performs his duty well and I liked the scene with the Navy Admiral. Paul played it all very well and he even suspected that he may not survive the tale so he created a backup plan. Part of why I enjoyed his character was because he quickly swallowed his pride at being wrong and saw the bigger picture. I was actually expecting him to be a traitor for a while there so I was pleasantly surprised that this didn’t happen.

I’d say the only plot that felt really unnecessary here was the one with Eleanor. In order to get some leverage on Scott they send Jiggs to one of his old flames to find some information out. Unfortunately this leads to burning some bridges here as they liked each other until she finds out that he was just using her for the letters. While Jiggs didn’t intend for that to happen, he did ultimately do just that and it was a pretty sad state of affairs. He should have just come clean with her from the start or declined the mission but the way he handled the whole thing was pretty underhanded.

Jiggs was a solid main character otherwise though. He carefully planned out his moves and did everything he could to uphold the constitution. He never backed down from his confrontations with Scott and his boldness is ultimately what got him to the right place at the right time. I also liked Lyman’s other advisor Raymond. That guy had a pretty dangerous job of heading to where they suspected the villain base was all on his own. Things definitely could have gotten very dicey for him there.

Finally we have Scott who made for a very solid main villain. His confrontation with Lyman is definitely one of the better scenes here. There’s a lot of good back and forth between them as they trade threats. Scott tries playing dumb for quite a while even when Lyman basically tells him that the jig’s up. Scott tries to stay tough til the end but once the heroes get the smoking gun it’s all over. He’ll have to try and win legally now and while he was confident in his chances at the start, he didn’t seem so by the end. Particularly by resigning he may not even be eligible in 4 years although I’m not sure exactly how that would work out. It’s possible he could still try but he would likely have far less supporters now.

Overall, Seven Days in May is definitely a very solid political thriller. The writing is excellent and the same is true of the pacing. This is a movie that really had no weaknesses and all of the characters are written realistically to make for better interactions. As mentioned, I think we could have done without the romance plot though. It didn’t really add to anything but it’s not enough to hurt the score either. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to watch a film with a pretty engaging plot.

Overall 7/10

A Letter to Three Wives Review

It’s time to take a look at a retro movie with a moral about trust and understanding. With the basic premise at hand the film gives you all you need in order to crack the case of what’s going on here. I dare say that it starts to become apparent after the first story but even then you can still make cases for exactly what Addie’s plans were. You could make her out to be the hero or villain depending on how you look at it. I’m in the former’s side.

The movie starts with Addie explaining to the viewers that she’s the best person who ever lived and holds the moral high ground. The 3 main heroines are all pretty jealous of her because Addie seems to be the perfect person. As the ladies husbands would say, she always knows to do the right thing at the right time. As a result the ladies never liked Addie much although they wouldn’t say that to her face. Well, Addie has sent them a note saying that she has run off with one of their husbands. The 3 wives are trapped on a cruise and can’t get back home but they are all worried that their man has left. Each of them has a flashback to a memorable day in their relationship and wonder if it could possibly be true.

In a way the story is an anthology as each story takes up a good amount of time so we don’t see the present much. The first story is about Brad and Deborah. Deb is feeling a lot of pressure because she thinks that she can’t keep up with Brad’s city friends. She grew up as a country girl and isn’t very confident in her appearance and mannerisms. This ends up getting worse as she gets super drunk before the meetup and also has a mild costume malfunction. She misses enough of the party to where Addie ends up chatting with Brad instead.

It’s a pretty solid first story and underscores that Brad is a really nice guy. He’s pretty understanding of Deborah’s worries the whole time. We also get to see his two friends who will star in the second story and they’re very nice as well. They do everything they can to cheer Deborah up and I dare say that they easily have the best dynamic of the 3. Deborah’s lack of confidence can be a bit iffy at times especially with how much she drinks. It also turns into her not trusting Brad as much as she should because she does think he would trade up to Addie if possible.

Next up is George and Rita. Rita is determined to impress her boss by hosting a very fancy dinner party while George isn’t a fan of the idea because he doesn’t like having a false pretense. I do agree with him here as I never believed in making the place really fancy when guests were coming over either. In modern times this has slowly stopped being a thing, but there are still many cases where you do a huge cleaning and re-stocking before someone comes over. In a way the best way to handle this is to have the guest see the place as it usually is. George does his best to work around this but the guests are quite rude and even break his personal record. It turned into a pretty trying day for him and Rita even forgot his Birthday. Fortunately Addie didn’t so she sent him a priceless record with a reference to their youth although this makes Rita jealous as well.

While Rita definitely went through a difficult day there, she is still a pretty likable character throughout the movie. She’s a very supportive friend and I do think she and George got along quite well whenever we saw them. George is a fun character who always sees the glass as half full. Despite all the crazy stuff that happens to him, he keeps up a smile throughout. From the 3 guys he was definitely the best one.

Then we have the third story about Lora and Porter. Lora is pretty poor at the moment so she decides to land the boss of her company after he reaches out to her with obvious goals in mind. She plays hard to get in order to win him over and get married. It works in a very transactional way. Both of them are too proud to admit to the other that the feeling is genuine. Partially they are also afraid to say this in case the other were to laugh so as a result their marriage isn’t a very happy one. Throughout the film they’re constantly trading a lot of barbs. In particular Porter is often pretty disrespectful. Lora’s a strong woman so she doesn’t lose her confidence despite this but it’s a pretty unhealthy dynamic.

The film works to give them some development here but even by the end the pairing was the weakest. Porter is a pretty fun character when outside of the marriage but with Lora most of his scenes are pretty mean spirited. Meanwhile Lora is the most fun member of the 3 wives. In some respects she is one of the scarier people to run into with how manipulative she is. If she didn’t like Porter then she could have put her plan into action pretty easily by marrying him and then running off. If you’re rich you always got to be careful when getting into a relationship. Of course, Lora actually wasn’t mean spirited like that and is just a very independent character.

One thing that’s pretty telling in the film is that none of the 3 characters trusted their husbands as much as you would expect. They had a lot of doubts the whole time so their relationships clearly weren’t all that strong. The film gives them development there but even to the end two of them are absolutely certain on the fact that their husbands ran away. You can’t have a good relationship without trust so that’s something for them to work towards. On the other side George and Brad seem like very reasonable and forgiving characters. They’re pretty down to Earth and don’t let things get to them. Part of why the writing in the film is so good is because most of the characters are pretty reasonable.

So I won’t spoil who left off with Addie. I can say that we never actually see her though as the film keeps her intentionally out of sight. I was expecting that pretty early on though because it just feels like the kind of thing the film would do. In a sense, seeing her would be difficult for the audience to see what all the fuss was about. This way she keeps her mystery. Now, why do I think she was more of a good guy? Well, she’s clearly the nicest and most respectable member of the group. Unlike the various gossipers in town she has no time for that and is always doing nice things for everyone. She remembers birthdays, doesn’t have any drama, and is very respectable. I believe that she saw things weren’t going super well for the 3 couples and decided to do something that would shake things up in their lives.

Nobody holds onto something tighter than when it’s about to be taken away. I don’t typically order desserts at Popeyes because their chicken is fantastic and I can always bake some cookies at home. However, when I heard that Fried Oreos were only going to be around for a few weeks I bought a bunch of them. It’s the same concept here more or less. Now that Addie is threatening to take the guys away the 3 main characters may look at things in a different light. The only threat to this is a proclamation from one of the guys near the end. My answer to that? The guy’s definitely lying. Either he helped cook up the scheme with Addie or he just said what he said to make someone feel better. I just don’t think his event actually happened. In short, that’s why Addie was the hero of this story and also the best character in the film.

In general I’m also against the notion that you can’t have a female friend. By making Addie into someone who ended up wanting something more then that’s a shame. Especially with a lot of these old films being about cheating it seems like that is the inevitable outcome if you’re friends with someone who is single but it’s a dangerous rhetoric. That’s why it’s good to have Addie here to put a stop to all this nonsense.

Overall, A Letter to Three Wives is a pretty solid film. The movie’s pretty fun and all of the stories were solid although the third one is the weakest by far. It makes sense though because that plot seemed to be pretty weak from the jump as well. Still, the rest of the movie keeps the adventure up at a high level. If you’re looking for a classic mystery that actually isn’t a murder mystery then this is one of the rare ones to check out. It’s just a solid all around film with good writing and pacing.

Overall 7/10

The Bad and the Beautiful Review

It’s time to take a look at a guy trying to succeed in Hollywood. While this initially starts out as a fun journey for the guy it ultimately starts getting darker and sadder as things don’t work out. He seems like a decent guy who made some critical mistakes, but each one was a mistake of his own doing. It’s a pretty engaging film that does have a tragic ending but one that may not be so bad depending on how you interpret it.

The movie starts with Jonathan trying to contact a famous director, (Fred) Actress, (Georgia) and Author (James) but all three of them refuse to speak with him. His agent manages to get them into a house where Jonathan will be able to make a call once more. We then learn why each of them does not want to speak with Jonathan through three stories. The film is effectively an anthology as we learn what happened to them and how Jonathan went from being the most successful man in Hollywood to being near bankrupt.

The first story starts with Fred attending a funeral where everyone was paid to pretend to be sad about Jonathan’s father dying. Fred doesn’t keep up the act though but one thing leads to another and he agrees to team up with Jonathan. The two of them work quite well and start making some very successful pictures. They may not be rolling in dough yet but things are going well. Things sour when Jonathan decides to push Fred out of the way when they adapt a screenplay that Fred wrote. Jonathan intends to be the one who will take the credit for it and this was Fred’s lifework. They went from being best friends to worst enemies in an instant. To Jonathan it wasn’t personal but to Fred it was everything.

This was a strong first story. It’s paced pretty well and could have been a film in itself. In this story Jonathan was totally at fault. You can’t just steal someone’s work like that and expect everything to be okay. That’s a film Fred will never go back and you can’t really apologize for it either. Jonathan made it clear that he didn’t think Fred was good enough for the film which is a personal blow. That was how Jonathan burned his first bridge and you can see why Fred doesn’t want to work with him.

The second story involved Georgia who was a drunk that had a hard time keeping a job. Jonathan notices her during a bit role one day and decides to make her a star. Unfortunately it is hard for her to beat her old habits and he figures that the only way to get Georgia on board is to let her believe that he is interested in her. The affair never really felt genuine from his end but it’s mostly all implied so you have to decide on that yourself. Regardless, he ends up crushing her feelings when it’s revealed that he is having an affair with another woman.

Jonathan made it clear initially that they couldn’t have a relationship so he didn’t think it was super personal but it doesn’t change the fact that he went on with the facade for quite a while. Georgia may have been the only one interested but this did go on presumably for quite a few months so Jonathan should have called things off much sooner or just not been in any other affairs in the meantime. Once again this is on Jonathan and you can see why she was pretty upset. You don’t really get over something like that.

Finally we get the story with James. James was a writer who led a comfortable life with his wife. He had a hard time writing anything but was pretty happy. One day he gets a call from Jonathan and heads on over reluctantly to Hollywood since his wife was really excited about going there. Things get a little tense at times in part because of how excited she is and James gets jealous easily. One day a tragedy happens and Jonathan covers it up but ultimately the truth comes out and James cuts ties with him for good. It’s a pretty solid third story and James easily has the best reason for never working with Jonathan again. You just can’t go back from something like that.

Part of what makes the film a bit tragic is the fact that Jonathan seemed like a nice guy overall. He could be pretty forceful and direct in how he talked, but ultimately he did befriend the three main characters. In particular he got along with Fred the best but did betray him rather directly. So the film doesn’t build Jonathan up as an evil villain or anything, but at the same time his mistakes were pretty bad. You feel bad for him in the climax since he is desperate enough to effectively be begging his old friends to return, but he’s in this hole due completely to his own actions. Even cancelling the film at the end was a selfish move that cost two of his co-workers all of their money. He kept on digging his hole deeper and deeper.

The ending is left open ended so you can decide how the 3 decide. Personally I think they’ve got to say no here. They’re all quite successful and the manager is making the case that it’s because of Jonathan. Certainly he put them on the right track but that doesn’t mean they owe him anything. He still made a mess of their lives in quite powerful ways. When you get betrayed in the ways that they did you don’t really get over that. In particular there is no way James should even entertain the notion of going back. At the very least, that’s the path I would see the ending going if it continued. They just put the phone back down and walk away.

Overall, The Bad and the Beautiful is a pretty deep film. The title is likely referring to Jonathan as we see him as a good guy and as a villain. At times he sees like a genuinely nice guy and then he turns at the drop of a hat. He’s hard to figure out which is tragic in itself. At least he got to enjoy success for quite a while though and I suppose that will have to be enough. This is a solid anthology and one that I’d recommend checking out. It’s a pretty interesting movie and it’s a cautionary tale to remind you to always keep your guard up. You shouldn’t live a cynical life where you think everyone’s out to get you but you should also remember to look after yourself a bit or you could be betrayed in an instant.

Overall 7/10

Out of the Past Review

It’s time to look at a classic Noir film about how many times can you be betrayed before you wisen up. The main character is a reasonable detective at times who can predict the enemies moves. The problem here is the fact that he keeps on trying to play the field despite this. He’s not very professional from the start and hanging a big sign with his name on it isn’t a good way to stay out of trouble. His past comes back to haunt him and the lead just isn’t ready for this. It’s a pretty solid Noir thriller either way.

The movie starts off with Jeff having a picnic with Ann. Her childhood friend doesn’t like this because he was hoping she would like him, but that boat sailed as soon as Jeff moved into town. Jeff can handle this guy easy. The problem is that Joe has shown up in the present and he tells Jeff that boss Whit is back and wants to see him. Jeff decides to drive over and on the way tells Ann about his checkered past. He used to be a private detective who was paid by Whit to find the guy’s girlfriend Katie. Jeff found her real quick but decided that he wanted Katie to be with him. She agreed and they ran off together and even murdered someone who tries to stop them. Ultimately this didn’t work out and Jeff went on his own. At least Katie was free now right? Well…turns out that she came back to Whit anyway so everything Jeff did was pointless. Whit is now ordering Jeff to find some compromising files that someone got on him which could mess things up. Jeff has to find a way to get the past out of his life once and for all. The only way to do this might be to play ball and get his hand on those files.

There are a lot of different plots and tactics going on here throughout the movie. People change their sides really quick so you can’t trust people all that much. It makes for a pretty interesting story since you have to look at everything pretty carefully. The writing is on point and someone who has the upper hand in one scene could suddenly be on the defensive in the next. A single move can topple everything and naturally the same goes for when a character dies. That definitely shakes everything up real well.

So lets look at Jeff. As mentioned, the guy isn’t particularly great at his job. He’s a hard boiled detective so he doesn’t let his feelings show much. The problem is that once he gets emotional he definitely loses perspective. It only takes him about a minute to fall for Katie and quickly ditch his entire job. He knows the kind of guy he was working for so you’d think he would have thought things over a little better. Jeff gets real defensive right away even though he tends to be in the wrong. Now, if he betrayed Whit because he didn’t want to work for a villain anymore that would be one thing. Doing it just because he wants Katie for himself is quite another. It’s a romance that happens awfully fast as well.

In general I wouldn’t say the romance was written all that well here and it’s a large part of what held Jeff back as a character. He really tries to play the field. Even once he has Ann he starts to look back at Katie and what could have been. Ultimately the temptations of the past are what get him into trouble once again and you can’t feel all that bad for him. Most if not all of the trouble that happens to him here is of his own doing. He tends to overestimate himself and underestimates others which is really not a good mix.

Whit makes for a pretty solid villain. At times it’s hard to tell exactly what he is thinking. He tends to have a lot of plans but you don’t know how many of Katie’s plans he is aware of. Katie, Joe, and Whit all have their own ideas of how this will shake out and naturally none of them want to be the Patsy in this adventure. That means they need to keep backstabbing each other. Ultimately Whit talks tough but he definitely wasn’t the smartest villain of the bunch. I’d have to give that to Katie. She’s able to manipulate all of the men pretty easily.

I still think Jeff shouldn’t have fallen for her tricks after she tried to murder him quite a few times, but he wasn’t exactly reluctant to fall for her charms again. That’s why he couldn’t succeed as a lead. Katie looked really good though because as a villain she did her part in tricking everyone. She slowly crawled up the ladder after bumping some people off and just knowing how to use a gun put her above some of the other villains here. She also wasn’t afraid to use it which is key in these kind of movies. Some characters just never shoot in time which defeats the whole purpose of having a gun. Joe’s one of the better characters here and to me he was probably the standout character. I almost thought he was the lead at first since he got the first scene. He knows most of what’s going on and does a lot of the dirty work for the villains. Ultimately he just wasn’t ready to go fishing.

One thing I miss about these classic Noir titles is the banter between characters. They’re all talking in a very leisure way while hurling constant threats. Jeff has a very deadpan delivery while Whit is all about theatrics and acting charming even when you know it’s all two faced. Each character is two faced and it’s important that you remember that as the scenes go on as it’ll help you be more prepared for each moment. The pacing is also pretty solid. The opening flashback is so long that you almost forget it’s a flashback. The movie is quite long, but never drags on.

Overall, Out of the Past is a pretty solid Noir thriller. There’s a lot going on throughout the movie which is a really good thing. You’re always waiting for the next twist or wrinkle in the story to happen. The villains and heroes keep taking turns on who has the edge and at the end of the day only one person ends up winning here. The ending is a nice touch as the kid fulfills his last mission to help one character have closure. It does result in a bit of a rebound though which makes the characters all seem suspect, but at least it’s a happy ending I suppose. I’d recommend checking it out. The romance can be a bit dodgy but the rest of the film is quite exciting.

Overall 6/10