Gilda Review


Gilda is a Noir film from a while back. It’s definitely got every noir element you can ask for and makes for a pretty interesting film although the main character is definitely pretty bad. Definitely not someone you can trust in the slightest and there’s a lot of twists and turns here as the characters mess with each other. The main takeaway is that you shouldn’t get involved with gambling as things tend to get dicey.

The movie starts with a confident guy named Johnny cheating a bunch of sailors at cards and running off with all of their money. He doesn’t get far though as someone holds him at gunpoint and Johnny realizes that it may be curtains for him. That’s when a guy named Ballin shows up and rescues Johnny. Ballin is the owner of a local casino and so naturally Johnny repays this kindness by going to that guy’s casino and stealing a bunch of money. He’s caught again but Ballin decides to make him a partner. Johnny is surprisingly loyal and so the two get along really well. This all changes when Ballin goes on vacation and returns with a new wife named Gilda. Johnny and Gilda have quite the history between them which leads to a lot of friction. Gilda is a free spirit who flirts with everyone so Johnny tries to keep Ballin from finding this out. Will Johnny and Gilda’s feud end up destroying the casino?

At first things are going almost too well so you know something’s got to give. Johnny and Ballin have perfect teamwork with each other and the casino is doing better than never. They’re really on cloud 9 and Johnny’s enjoying his new lease on life. As someone who used to cheat a whole lot it makes sense that he would be good at noticing if others were using the same tricks. That said, things all fall to pieces when Gilda shows up. She is intentionally difficult a lot of the time as well as she puts him into tough situations that are hard to explain.

I would make the case that if he was straight with Ballin from the start instead of making up stories then it would have been easier. By the midway point that isn’t an option anymore though as Ballin starts to act rather dangerously. Perhaps Johnny knew that would be his reaction all the while. Johnny was really solid in the first half of the film but then he looked really bad later on. His punishment scheme involving marriage started off as incredibly petty and by the end just turned flat-out villainous. There isn’t any real way to root for him as he went completely off the deep end.

Then you have Gilda who isn’t a very good heroine. She admits to being someone who goes on the rebound all the time. While the characters do ultimately say she never actually cheated on the leads, it’s hard to really believe that given her actions. She actually did cheat on Ballin while they were still married with Johnny and she was already getting into a serious affair with someone overseas until it turned out that he was actually an inside agent. The common theme in both of these instances is that she was really quick to move on so it’s hard to imagine any real romance sticking around for the long-haul by the end. Without trust you can’t possibly have a healthy relationship after all.

The romance in the film in general is just really weak and takes away from the more interesting thriller aspects of the story. You’re interested in the conspiracies and the truth behind the casino. Not in what’s going on between Johnny and Gilda. That’s the kind of stuff you can just leave for a side story or just to the imagination but it ends up playing quite the central focus by the end.

There are two main supporting characters in Pio and Obregon. Pio is a nice janitor type character who completes all of the odd jobs around the Casino. He’s been around for a long time and is always completely confident in himself. Nobody can scare this guy and that’s because he knows just about everything. You can always count on him in crunch time and he was just fun. Then you’ve got Obregon who appears for a lot of the movie. He’s a mysterious character who is always hanging around the scene of the crime just doing his own thing. There are naturally twists around his character and they are handled quite well. He may even be the best character in the film when you think about it.

Finally you’ve got the main villain Ballin and he definitely messes up what was a pretty good system for him. He really had everything he could have wanted and then ended up messing it all up by going after Gilda when he shouldn’t have. If he had just stayed strong or not gotten married so impulsively then he would have been okay. While the guy went crazy by the end, he may have been distracted by success long enough for that not to take effect. It’s quite the coincidence that he ended up meeting up with Gilda of all people.

As with any classic Noir film the writing is important and I would say it is pretty solid here. The banter with Johnny and Ballin is always solid with a lot of subtle jabs thrown in. Johnny has a quick word for anyone who gets in his way. The only time the interactions aren’t as solid is with him and Gilda as you can see the romance coming a mile away so their tough talk just doesn’t work as well. Beyond that the whole film is definitely interesting from start to finish and the pacing means that it all goes through pretty smoothly. There’s never a point in the film where you feel like it’s dragging on.

Overall, Gilda is a solid Noir film. I wouldn’t put it as one of my all time high picks in the genre but it holds up well enough. Gilda is the weakest element of the film to be sure along with the rather weak romance here but the plots about the casino and such are solid. There’s always something going on here and definitely a lot to unpack. All of the characters could have handled the situation differently and would have been in a better spot for it except for Obregon who handled everything well from start to finish. That guy was always a step ahead of the rest. With a solid ending to close things out, I’d definitely recommend Gilda if you want to check out a classic film with a little mystery and intrigue.

Overall 6/10

Framed Review


Framed is an old noir film which is a very solid depiction of the genre as a whole. You’ve got every character keeping secrets and acting rather suspicious the whole time. They’ve definitely got a lot of attitude and smoking/drinking is what all of the characters turn to in a pinch. With solid writing and a good story at the ready this is certainly a good movie to check out. You don’t really see a low key Noir title like this nowadays and it’s a solid genre that has faded away.

The movie starts with Mike trying to drive a vehicle into town but the brakes gave way. He eventually makes it but not before crashing into Jeff’s car. The town refuses to pay for the damages even though it was their defective vehicle that caused Mike to bump into the guy’s car in the first place. Mike pays for the damages but gives the sheriff too much attitude so they prepare to arrest him. A waitress named Paula shows up to pay for his bail just in the nick of time though. She wants to be Mike’s friend but the whole thing seems a little odd to the lead. Mike wants to leave town as soon as possible and he may have a ticket out. Jeff’s starting up a silver mining company soon as long as he can get a loan from the bank.

We’ll see if that happens though. Paula is in cahoots with Steve, the vice president of the bank. They intend to steal a ton of money but they need a fall guy. Mike is exactly the guy they’ve been looking for so they intend to bump him off after setting the stage just right. Can Mike really see this trap coming or will he be far too distracted by Paula to do much of anything? There’s definitely a lot of tension as you watch him try to come out on top.

Now, with a premise like this there’s a lot going on. It’s also a reverse mystery to an extent since we know Paula and Steve are the villains from the start but nobody else does. So there isn’t any deductions being done on our side. It’s all about following Mike on his quest. He probably would have even done better with that if he wasn’t always getting drunk though. Keep in mind that he got himself into a lot of trouble early on in the film for drinking so much that he passed out and it happens to him again in the climax. Both times could have been absolutely fatal.

It also makes it a little harder to like Mike. He feels very out of his league in this mystery. He’ll make a decent deduction at times but he’ll handle the execution poorly. There’s one scene where he very nearly gets poisoned and instead of saving himself, someone else has to come through for him. It’s a fun moment in a sense because he had a plan of his own all set and he would not have been able to execute it if he had taken the drink. Things could have very quickly gone south for him. Mike talks tough a lot but he ends up being manipulated quite often and I dunno, I just couldn’t pull for the guy.

The only thing that I will say for him is at least he was quick to try and get Jeff out of a jam even if it meant confessing. He wasn’t just going to let Jeff rot and there was no hesitation there. That’s the only credit I’ll give Mike but at least his heart was in the right place there. Jeff’s also a fun character. The guy has a good business idea set up and you get the feeling that he is very on top of things. If not for the villains messing with him I think he would be in a very good spot to get rich. He takes everything in stride too so he’s an easy guy to root for.

As for the two villains, well they definitely don’t plan things out too well. First off is Steve who just doesn’t think things through. He goes through a cycle that he should have predicted. He cheated on his wife to get along with Paula and doesn’t suspect that she may do the same thing? He’s not the brightest guy out there that’s for sure. Then you have Paula who could have easily ended things without a hitch for herself but let her feelings get in the way which ended up ruining things for her. You can’t mix sentimentality with criminal affairs. That’s just not going to end well in any circumstance and she certainly learned that the hard way.

The movie has a fairly small cast as these 4 are the only characters or note. The heart of the film is really about the strong writing and character interactions between all of them. Most of the scenes feel like they’re taking place at night time, even the ones during the day. Even the bar always feels ominous as the characters walk in to get a drink. It’s always interesting to see how these things looked back in the day because it all feels so different in the present.

Overall, Framed is a pretty solid movie. I probably wouldn’t put it as a top Noir title but at the same time it is a very consistent one. It really gives you all of the elements that you would want to see in such a film from the characters to the backgrounds. The reverse mystery idea is a nice twist as well. Usually most of the film is about finding out exactly what is going on so this time we get to see Mike try to put the puzzle pieces together himself. He’s not the nicest guy so that works in his favor at times as he uses strong tactics. Sometimes just hiding out in front of the house is a good way to gather info as well which worked out nicely for him. He got off a little lucky being able to down someone with a single punch though but I suppose that guy wasn’t as big a fighter as he thought. The key takeaway from this film is that if you don’t want to get framed or be put in a tough situation, just don’t get drunk out of your mind. You should maybe avoid the drinks entirely but at the bare minimum you shouldn’t drink so much that you pass out….

Overall 7/10

Le Samouraï Review


It’s time to look at a French thriller from a while back. The title may be a bit misleading though. I suppose it’s using the Samurai term more figuratively than anything but if Jef thinks of himself as a samurai then he’s quite mistaken. He’s just a common murderer trying to evade the cops long enough for the next job. This film was better than I had expected and gives a pretty satisfying case for you to watch unfold. We know that the main character is guilty so the suspense is in seeing how the cops will be able to arrest this guy.

The movie starts with Jef walking into a club. He nonchalantly walks all the way over to where the boss is and shoots him in front of everyone. He then returns to a Poker game with some of his associates. The cops quickly arrive and take him in as a suspect along with 99 other people. Jef manages to get out of there without being seen as guilty since most of the witnesses were unable to ID him. His bosses don’t like the fact that he was caught at all though and decide to put him down. Meanwhile the Policeman in charge of the investigation is confident that Jef is his man. He wasn’t able to prove it quit yet but he is determined to get the information so he has the Police tail Jef. Jef must now shake the mafia and the cops if he is to get out of this in one piece.

When your main character is actually the villain a film always has to walk a pretty fine line. It shouldn’t bother with trying to make the lead likable as it is far too late for that. The only option left is to have you root for the good guys here to take down the lead. You still need a lot of twists and turns involved here to keep things from being too easy though. It’s definitely interesting seeing this from the villain’s point of view and this movie makes the most of it. The police are given a lot of credit with the various tactics they use to try and catch him. Both sides look intelligent and have a lot of different plans at the ready. The excellent writing is part of what sells this film.

The Police chief instantly became the best character after just a few minutes with his character. He’s very sharp and has a good intuition. He plays things by the book and ultimately doesn’t cross any lines in trying to get his man. He just knows how to run an investigation and cover all of the bases. Tailing someone is pretty difficult, especially someone like Jef who is a professional but the unit here is quite good as well. Throughout the film the chief continues to pour on more and more pressure so that Jef will inevitably make a mistake and then they can slam him with everything they’ve got. Now that’s really high quality Policework.

As for Jef, he’s just your average hitman. He was paid to take someone out and he did. The piano player Valerie questions why he would do it and he even explains that his targets may or may not be good people. It doesn’t matter to him, he just wants the money. Valerie’s character is an interesting one since Jef has some theories on her but the film never goes out of its way to tell us if we should believe him or not. I’m inclined to think that he is right based upon the final mission of the film though. She seems to be a loose end which would support his theory but was definitely an interesting character either way.

Jef plays the situations rather well for the most part although the final scene wasn’t a good play. This is intentional as it seems he wanted to stop causing trouble for someone but after going through all of this that just doesn’t seem like the way to go about things. If anything it puts the heroine in some more trouble since this doesn’t really help her case. Jef’s character is very robotic in how he goes about his business. Even by the end of the film we really don’t know almost anything about his character and that’s good with me. The mystique behind everything going on is part of what makes the Noir genre so much fun.

The heroine Jane is also interesting. She’s definitely very loyal to Jef and that’s part of the tragic element here. It’s always a shame to see a character like that get in with the wrong crowd. That said, it’s not like she’s a good person either. It seems like she is playing the field and turns out to be as much of a crook as Jef. In a way that makes them perfect for each other and cuts the sympathy points down even further for both of them. There’s never any doubt on your side as to who you should be rooting for. So that’s a good thing, the writers knew what they were doing.

it’s also just a very fun movie to watch because you get a good understanding of the police procedures in France. It’s a little different and very methodical. I liked seeing them try different experiments like having the suspects switch clothing and line up. The chief definitely was very thorough in the measures he was using and it’s easy to see why he did so well. I do think the audio bug was a super longshot that was never going to work but I suppose he had to at least give it a try right? It’s not like there was much harm in the attempt since Jef was on guard anyway. There were also quite a lot of agents running around which was fun to see as they tried keeping tabs on him.

Overall, Le Samourai is definitely a solid film. It’s a low key thriller so don’t expect a lot of shots or anything like that. It’s more of a mental thriller as the characters play cat and mouse with each other. The police chief knows Jef is the guilty party but he does need solid evidence in order to convict him. That’s why Jef is able to be quite cocky about the whole thing since the alibi is so air tight. Then we’ve got his revenge trip on the mafia group. Their agent looks pretty naive the whole time so I assume he was new to the force. Otherwise he just looks awful in one scene that occurs. You may chuckle at that moment even if the rest of the film is super serious. The ending is also satisfying which is the right way to cap things off.

Overall 7/10

Keeper of the Flame Review


It’s time to look at an old conspiracy film. It’s a cautionary tale about how anyone can quickly be corrupted or coerced under the right circumstances. Always be careful of meeting your heroes because nobody is perfect so you’re likely going to be disappointed. The movie’s very well made. The cast is pretty small and the plot is rather direct so to an extent it can feel like not much is happening. That’s where the writing comes into play since the film needs to keep you interested until the final twist near the end of the movie. I thought it succeeded in this regard.

The movie starts with a legendary American hero dying in a car accident. The country is in mourning because this guy was a very prominent figure. His wife Christine is taking this especially hard and has been unwilling to see anyone. Famous reporter Stephen has arrived in town to get the scoop although his two reporter friends tell him he should give up. That’s not how Stephen operates though and he keeps on going until he finally meets Christine. Why is she so nervous and eager for him to go away? Stephen’s reporter instincts have kicked in and he senses a story!

The funny thing is that this is one of those movies where the villains really overthink things. The film would have been over in an instant if they hadn’t gone back after Stephen. Clive thinks that Christine’s decision not to meet with Stephen initially was pretty suspicious. He’s not wrong in this but suddenly appearing later on has the opposite effect. If they had left things alone Stephen may have had a feeling that something wasn’t right but he would have stopped there. It’s always interesting when the villains think too highly of the heroes because that’s pretty rare.

Nevertheless, Stephen’s definitely a solid character for the most part. He’s determined and doesn’t get intimidated when people threaten to beat him up or worse. You have to have nerves of steel to be a reporter and he’s definitely got that. In comparison the other two reporters look pretty bad as they give up with ease and don’t really do much of anything. They’re really just here for the banter although I can appreciate that since I’m always up for good banter. The main thing that holds Stephen back is the romance plot with Christine since her husband literally just died. Now, they weren’t actually all that close and there’s a lot going on with that relationship but you still can’t see this as anything but a rebound. I also thought that it didn’t really enhance the plot in any way.

The film has a solid ending that wraps things up as well so this is a really complete journey. The best part here is that the film had strong writing and was interesting from cover to cover. I liked the final twist and it’s not even unrealistic. It’s very easy to see something like this happening and the idea of playing groups against each other is something that is happening as we speak through every kind of media, social media, writing, and even in person. Division is a constant in life and one that always has the appearance of getting worse and worse with each passing year. The movie is just as timely now as when it came out with the relevant plotlines. In light of all of this, Christine did pretty good. It’s a shame that she couldn’t have gotten a little further from the situation but I don’t really see how she could have had a chance for any of that.

For the debate at the end where Christine and Stephen have differing views on how people handle these kinds of twists in real life, I’d say Stephen was right. At the end of the day, no matter how big a revelation or a twist there is, people will adapt and get used to it. Some will take it harder than others no doubt but it’s just not personal enough for most to be crushed by it. If it were that personal then it wouldn’t effect most of the others. Since you can never really know someone else, you can only get to hurt by learning something you didn’t already know. There are just limits to how you will feel and that’s why Stephen is right that the truth always has to come out. It may not be what everyone wanted to hear, but ultimately it’s what they needed to know. There’s one death that’s a little gratuitous at the ending as I don’t think it was really needed but you can see why the film went that route.

Overall, Keeper of the Flame is a pretty nice title. It is definitely a very relevant title as it has to do a whole lot with the movie. If you’re up for a mystery with quite a few twists and turns then this is up your alley. As mentioned, the only thing I could see holding this one back a little for some would just be the fact that the movie can feel a little slow at times. Not so much in a dragged out sense as it isn’t specific scenes, but the film has a very slow pace to it as it takes you through the story. The characters chat about life and hypotheticals as well. Everyone’s always got a speech. I’m always up for that though as the dialogue is pretty interesting to me. As long as you agree then you’ll enjoy the film.

Overall 7/10

Double Indemnity Review


It’s time to take a look at a retro noir film. This is one of those titles where you should be rooting against the main character from the jump. He’s definitely not one of the more trust worthy guys out there and ends up making a lot of foolish mistakes. It’s a good movie though with a fun plot and a lot going on. I also always enjoyed the noir narration going on throughout the movie. That’s something I’d like to see make a comeback in the modern movies at some point. It’s just a fun thing to do.

The movie starts with Walter trying to track down someone whose insurance is about to expire. Walter always likes to stay on top of these things after all as he is one of the best insurance people in the business. When he gets to the house the guy isn’t there, but his wife Phyllis is. She figures him as an easy sucker to manipulate and she’s right as Walter immediately ignores the fact that she’s married to make a move. She reciprocates and lets him know that all Walter needs to do is help her bump off her husband so they can get rich off the insurance. Walter likes the sound of this and the two of them start planning. Can they bump this guy off and get rich without the expert Mr. Keyes finding out about this?

Keyes is the best character here. He’s always been really good at cracking down on criminals who try this kind of scam. Whenever someone submits a fake insurance claim he catches them in the act. It’s all because of the “little guy” who is basically his heart that lets him know when someone’s not being straight with him. Walter figures that he’s worked with Keyes for over 10 years so he can keep him in the dark. It’s a pretty high stakes gamble though but he’s already in it pretty deep and decides to go for the gold anyway.

So right away there’s no doubt about it. Walter’s one of the antagonists just as much as Phyllis. Only difference between them is Walter did it partially for Pyllis as well while she was just in it for the money. Walter tries to make a lot of justifications about it but at the end of the day he’s still pretty petty. His final plan was also pretty risky as Phyllis was one step ahead of him the whole time. He really underestimated her there and wasn’t even being all that subtle about what he was going to do. Closing all the windows and shades….really? He should have already known that Phyllis would be ready since the whole deal is that she’s pretty cunning.

The best parts of the film are definitely the cat and mouse games with Keyes. Keyes is always thinking up plan after plan to try and break down the story. There are quite a few similarities to Death Note here. At times Walter wonders if Keyes is on to him but is holding back to give Walter a chance to confess on his own. It gives you a lot to think about as you’re watching the film because this could really spin a lot of different ways. In terms of extra story beats, the only one I think we didn’t need was Lola’s plot. It makes Phyllis look pretty bad because of how obvious she was being.

So Phyllis was bumping off people left and right while trying on black to test it out? That’s the kind of thing you do when you’re trying to incriminate yourself, not when you’re trying to lie low. Lola ends up being a pretty big piece who could have blown the case wide open at any time. Instead she decides to keep quiet which is very fortunate for Phyllis but not very likely. At this point Phyllis bumped off both of her parents so what’ll it take for Lola to go to the cops? I think cutting her out of the film would have made sense. I suspect she was mainly there to give Walter some second thoughts about the whole thing.

Walter should have had second thoughts the moment he found out he was being the patsy in all of this though. He tries to play it off cool like most Noir characters by saying he didn’t care and all of that. I don’t really buy that for a second to be honest. Deep down he was hoping she really liked him and that was never going to work out. A romance built off of a murder is probably not going to last very long at all. He should have stuck to the content life of insurance selling. The company seemed really good to me to be honest and at least he had good friends. That’s not something he could say for after that. His final attempt was a bit odd but I guess at that point he was desperate.

Overall, Double Indemnity is a very solid film. While the main characters are pretty unlikable, you’ve got Keyes here to hold the whole thing together. Also, at least while Walter is a villain, it’s not like he’s portrayed as someone totally crazy that would hold the film back. He may be corrupt with all his justifications and all but at least he’s still got sound judgment which is needed for these battles of the mind. If you like Noir titles then this is definitely one to add to the books. It’s got a lot of different wrinkles to it and various story developments.

Overall 7/10

The Lady Vanishes Review


It’s time to look at a very old school thriller mystery. It certainly goes down a few unexpected paths and makes for a pretty enjoyable experience. As with all movies where someone vanishes you do have to suspend a little disbelief with how this would have worked out at all. That said, the movie makes a better attempt to hide this than most do. At least we do have a few characters who saw things and for their own selfish reasons are just pretending that they didn’t. That’s more of a plot point that I can get behind.

The movie starts with some train delays so Iris and a lot of other people are forced to spend the night at a hotel. Iris is with two of her friends so it’s a nice enough stay but their upstairs neighbor is making a lot of noise. Iris complains and the guy (Gilbert) retaliates by breaking into her room and making a mess of things. Iris is pretty happy to leave but on the way to the train she is nearly murdered by a falling rock that was seemingly aimed at an old lady by the name of Ms. Froy. Froy is also taking the train to she gets on with Iris. Unfortunately after Iris takes a nap Froy is gone and everyone claims she was never there. Iris needs to find some proof and fast because this could all be a part of some kind of conspiracy.

Iris and Froy didn’t do a whole lot after they got on the train but enough where you’d expect a good amount of witnesses. They went to the cabin to have some tea and even had a brief polite spat with Charters and Caldicott so I’m sure some people would have noticed this. Again, we do have at least 4 characters who saw them but have motives for not saying. For reasons involving the twist we can’t count everyone in the car so it’s a limited pool. That’s why, while I don’t 100% buy this, the film put in a great effort compared to most. I can definitely respect the hustle there.

Speaking of twists, the film also did good by not letting you know who the true main character was for a while. In Act 1 Charters and Caldicott gets much more screen time than Iris. They’re too comedic characters who just want to know what’s going on with the cricket matches but nobody is able to assist them. It’s definitely not the most popular sport out there although I know a few big fans. As a result you expect these guys to be in the thick of it but when the situation comes to them, surprisingly they lie their way out of it. I was pretty shocked since that seemed primed to be their big moment where they jump in and take center stage. That was a solid flip the script kind of moment if I’ve ever seen one.

As the actual main character, Iris does a pretty good job of holding the movie pretty well. She’s a nice character and definitely a determined one as she doesn’t buy into the deceptions that Froy was never really there. I’m pretty glad about that because I always thought it was rather weak to believe the opposite of what you saw with your own eyes. Let’s bee real about this, if you see something then you shouldn’t be convinced otherwise. That’s one of those things I always have to shake my head at when it happens. Iris was also quick to get with the program when the climax occurs.

Some characters were not quite so lucky with this. When people are actually shooting at you then the time for talking is certainly past. You have to fire back and a few of the characters here were definitely super naive. That said, the climax was definitely a lot of fun. It was pretty high energy throughout and a lot was happening at any given time. The whole conspiracy was a bit bigger than I had suspected. The film was pretty low key for most of its run but I’ll never turn down a sequence of solid action scenes.

The main guy is a bit on the iffy side. Gilbert is pretty petty with breaking into Iris’ room the way that he did. It may have ended up turning out all right but it’s the kind of thing that would definitely not fly over very well if it actually happened. This leads us to a pretty rushed romance plot. Keep in mind that Iris already has a fiance so that’s pretty hard to buy into. She basically dumps him for no real reason. We barely even got to meet the guy which is pretty crazy. They could have just as easily written the film so that he didn’t exist and nothing would change. The romance is definitely not the best here but fortunately that plays a very small role.

I’d consider the writing in the film to generally be pretty solid. It has good pacing throughout and a nice set of characters. The film plays itself out a bit as an ensemble kind of movie with each character having his own plot and story to get back to. They all end up mixing together by the end of the experience so all of the characters feel pretty real. The movie doesn’t drag on and actually manages to capture quite a lot of story within the runtime. Mix that together with the explosive climax and you’ve got yourself a very satisfying ending.

Overall, The Lady Vanishes is a pretty solid movie. I’d definitely recommend it as this is a mystery film which has aged really well over the years.Some of the twists are still a bit unexpected which goes into how smooth the execution is. Gilbert does have a terrible final scene though as he ends up slipping on the most important assignment he was given. It’s one of those things that you just don’t do. You’ve got to at least make sure you get that right. Fortunately the real hero was ready to help as things could have gone badly otherwise.

Overall 7/10

The Seventh Victim Review


It’s time to look at an old film about lots of mysterious things going around. Unfortunately the conclusion to this ends up being pretty weak which takes away from the experience. You can’t help but feel like the whole thing was pretty pointless in the end. Everyone acts rather oddly for the plot and the film’s ending is so abrupt that it feels like a ton of it was cut out. Abrupt endings can work out quite well and I do like cliffhangers but it felt like almost nothing was resolved.

The movie starts out with Mary finding out that Jacqueline has gone missing. She leaves school to go and find her, however it’s a big city and Jacqueline isn’t at her business anymore since she apparently sold it to someone. Mary meets up with Jacqueline’s husband Gregory who agrees to help find her. Unfortunately this guy isn’t very helpful at all so Mary uses a private detective to break into a building where Jacqueline may be. Unfortunately the guy gets murdered and slowly Mary starts to figure that maybe she should give up. She is easily intimidated by one of the villains after all.

Part of the issue here is that Jacqueline handles everything pretty terribly. First off she did get into a crazy cult which is already bad enough. From there she keeps hiding from the world rather than exposing them. Presumably they are blackmailing her with something but to the point where she has to give up all of her businesses and money? At that point she’s got to do something to defend herself rather than playing defense. We get really random scenes like her not talking to the hero or stabbing people. She gets a little startled but then doesn’t even talk to defend herself. You’ve also got the pretty terrible ending that really seals the deal on my not liking this character. Now the villains get to go free without any testimony against them.

Gregory is also an annoying character here since he is literally married to Jacqueline and ends up falling for Mary. This is the same guy who was calling her a child earlier and making a lot of snide remarks. It’s great that they get along, but why’d it have to escalate so quickly? It’s hard to get a read on Gregory but this definitely didn’t do his character any wonders. Then you have Jason who seems nice enough. He’s got connections and helps the heroes find Jacqueline at least. His whole origin story involving knowing Louis a while back feels pointless though. Louis not telling Jason that his friend went completely crazy was also odd.

The film just has a lot of little elements here and there that don’t make sense and don’t add to anything. The best character was Irving since at least he did his best to try and find out the truth of what was going on. Too bad he ended up getting stabbed so easily though. He knew that something dangerous was behind the door so he definitely should have gone through a little more carefully in that case right? When you consider how dark it is especially.

I think the film wasn’t sure if it wanted to go towards total conspiracy land or keeping things more grounded. The whole film was building up to something big and crazy but by the end we see it’s just a small little club with around 5 members. They don’t even believe in violence themselves although they hire people to get the job done so it’s basically the same thing. They shouldn’t have all that much sway at all so if Jacqueline went to the cops she should be fine. Louis is also really an accomplice here since he does all he can to get in the way of the heroes. The guy was acting like a villain the whole time.

How did the heroes break into the hospital so easily anyway? You’d think that security would be tighter. Then the villains somehow finding a way to get Irving’s body out of there without anybody seeing is also pretty sketchy. The whole film works a lot better if you change the twist. Have Jacqueline be involved in a country-wide conspiracy where everyone is a suspect and the whole thing works out a lot better. Personally that would have made the film better although it probably wouldn’t have saved it. To be a good noir thriller or conspiracy thriller you need a good set of characters. It’s the only way you are going to get through and Irving was really the only solid one. The others were all super submissive and would not stand up to the villains in the slightest.

Even the brief “confrontation” we get with the main characters and the villains is super quick. It’s supposed to be pretty emotional and intense but it’s extremely quick and if this shook the villain cult to their core they must have never been all that serious in the first place. Why couldn’t we have had a scene with the cops coming to arrest them? A quick moment like that would have made a world of difference, but instead the film ends where it began, with nothing really happening.

Overall, I’d recommend avoiding this film. The Seventh Victim’s title basically summarizes everything that happens in the movie anyway. The rest is really just fluff to keep you going. The suspense does work reasonably well but since the resolution to it is pretty sub-par that just means that all of the build up ends up feeling pretty pointless. Definitely not the way to wrap up this cinematic experience. Perhaps with all of the cut scenes they could have helped improve the film although it would have taken a lot to save the film entirely and push it over a 5.

Overall 3/10

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Review


It’s time to take a look at a classic Noir film. It’s a tale of deception and blackmail with the villains thinking a little too highly of the lead which gets them into trouble. It’s a pretty engaging film for most of its run but by the end the drama ramps up a bit too much at the expense of Sam’s character. The ending may play out as a happy one but Sam made far too many mistakes. The plot still gives you enough twists and turns to stay engaging though.

The film starts off with Martha and Sam running from home yet again. Sam is a pretty down to Earth guy who likes being a rebel while Martha is getting ready to inherit a ton of money but doesn’t like her aunt. Unfortunately for Martha the aunt has a lot of power so these attempts never work out. Well, one day Martha murders the aunt and is finally out of the woods. The thing is, Walter and his father saw this so they help her cover it up, but this does lead to Walter becoming the district attorney and the two characters get married. Martha still doesn’t like Walter all these years later but that’s just how it is.

Meanwhile Sam passes through town and figures he’ll look his old friends up. He was friends with Martha at least, he never got along with Walter as much. He meets up with a girl named Toni though and the two of them become good friends. The problem is that Toni is breaking parole by hanging out with Sam and not going home. Ultimately she is picked up and so Sam decides to ask Walter to help him get her off the charge. Walter thinks Sam is here to blackmail him for the murder all those years ago but Sam doesn’t actually know about it. If Walter keeps hinting at it though, he ultimately may help Sam find out.

It’s always interesting when the villains actually overestimate the heroes because it’s so rare. One other case is in RWBY as Salem tells Cinder and the others to be very careful since Ruby has Silver Eyes, but little did they know that Oz had never shown her how to master it yet. That’s a similar case to how it’s all playing out here. Sam really had no way to suspect any of this since he had put the town on high alert. Honestly he probably wouldn’t have had a whole lot of swing with Walter otherwise though.

This does lead to Sam getting beat up at one point though and a lot of back and forth with the characters. Sam can fight pretty well so he doesn’t get intimidated easily. He trades a lot of barbs with Walter. Despite Sam calling him scared all the time Walter does hold his ground. Perhaps being constantly drunk and working for the government helped him get a little braver. It’s definitely a pretty interesting dynamic. Sam was a solid character for most of the film, but where he ultimately faltered was in how he handled the second half.

He definitely did like Martha once upon a time but she is married now and he likes Toni. That should absolutely be the end of it right? Unfortunately that is not the case and he falls for the grass is always greener approach. He betrays Toni pretty late in the game for what amounts to a pretty meaningless affair with Martha. It really takes away from his character because that’s absolutely the last thing he should be doing right now. He’s already been in so much trouble in this town as it is you’d think he would just get out quick. Unfortunately he got a bit greedy by the end. Once he actually did have the blackmail he quickly used it just like Walter thought he would. In a way Walter was right from the start, he was just too early.

So I couldn’t come to like Sam. Martha isn’t really any better. She seemed pretty spoiled right from the start of the film. The intro was brief but it didn’t really set up Martha as a sympathetic character. Then we have Walter who is at the very least still complicit in everything that went on. He clearly knew Martha didn’t like him but got married anyway so it’s hard to sympathize with him either. The only good character here was Toni and she definitely shouldn’t have stuck with Sam. After being betrayed like that I would have split town and then that would be it. If Sam can fall away so easily once then it will happen again.

Finally, the film also fumbled the ball early on with some animal violence. Why did we need the aunt to murder the cat at the beginning of the film? All that does it give the film a bit of a mean edge from the start. You can’t really recover from that. I suppose an amazing film could try to make a comeback I suppose, but it’s very difficult and you are starting from a disadvantage. I’m guessing the film couldn’t find any other way to make the Aunt look bad because otherwise she hadn’t been nearly as sinister as Martha would suggest. It’s an easy out, but one that did not do the film any favors.

Overall, This was a pretty interesting film. It unfortunately just lasted too long by watering down Sam’s character at the end and I definitely could have done without the animal violence. Those are the two elements that really drag the film down. The writing is on point as with most classic Noir films and otherwise the pacing is good. As I said at the beginning of the review, this is a pretty engaging film. Usually that goes hand in hand with being a good film but unfortunately that was not true in this case. As far as the recent Noir films I’ve seen go this would have to be one of the weaker ones.

Overall 3/10

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

Try and Get Me Review


It’s time for an old noir film that serves as a cautionary tale for why you don’t want to mix with the wrong crowd. Once you start committing crimes it is very hard to get out of them. A lot of people like to think that they can get out as soon as they want to, but it’s easier said than done. It’s a pretty good film that definitely has a bit of a dark ending. It’s all handled pretty well and the film even has more acts than I expected. It manages the pacing and run time very well.

Howard is pretty low on money and has a hard time landing a job. There just aren’t many openings right now and he gave his last coin to his kid so he wouldn’t feel left out when everyone else went out to the local game. Howard ends up meeting an eccentric man named Jerry who offers him a job. Howard finds out that it is for an illegal operation so he half heartedly says no but after double thinking it, Howard agrees to help. He is the getaway driver for Jerry’s various crimes. Things heat up one day when Jerry murders someone. Now Howard is really on the hot seat and reporter Gil is determined to nail him.

The film really has two main plots here. First up is Howard’s plot with Jerry as they go around robbing people. Then you’ve got the secondary plot with Gil where he doesn’t take the crimes seriously at first. Eventually he figures out that this is the real deal and decides to run some hard hitting pieces meant to ruin Howard’s life. Gil has no sympathy for murderers and the town is in full agreement on this. The mayor warns Gil that he is riling up the people a little too much but the reporter doesn’t see any harm in this.

Howard is a character that is hard to sympathize with because he had a few easy outs. When he initially says no Jerry starts to get sarcastic and even tosses Howard a 10 dollar bill. Howard should have taken it and left. Instead he decided to stay and get rich in part because he saw what a life Jerry led. That was Howard’s big mistake. Then there’s also the brief affair with one of Jerry’s friends. Jerry had them go on a double date to fool the authorities and while Howard initially just went along with the ruse he ended up getting drunk and making a fool of himself. There’s just no real sympathy to be had for Howard by the end. He was really annoying and talked a good game, but always backed off when the chips were down. He’s not the kind of guy that you want to have in your corner because you won’t have him there for long. He’ll be gone by the next time you turn around.

Then you have Jerry who is the main villain of the film. He’s definitely used to this kind of life and has been a criminal for a long time. You’re not even supposed to feel any sympathy for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has murdered a lot of other people over the years since I doubt his crimes always go well. He’s likely slipped up before and every time he slips up someone ultimately pays the price. He does a better job of handling the prison riot at the end though as he at least tries to put up a brief fight. Realistically you aren’t going to be able to do anything when attacked by a whole mob though. The only outcome there is death.

Finally we have Gil. His sub plot appears a bit at the beginning but doesn’t really appear again until the end when Howard is already captured. I was impressed at how the film maintained the two plots. The moral for his plot was a bit mixed though. Basically the film tried saying that her should have held back in his reportings and then the mob wouldn’t have murdered the two murderers. Sure, he wrote his pieces pretty hard but it’s not like he lied about any of it. Not everyone can handle listening to the news on a daily basis because of how graphic and intense it can be at times. It’s just how it is.

Gil’s doing his job in reporting and I think the characters were rather hard on him for that. If anything based on how unhinged the mob was it may have happened anyway. The guy Jerry murdered to which Howard was an accomplice on was clearly a very liked and respected figure. It’s not a crime that people would have a lot of sympathy on. It’s similar to how based on what kind of crime you land in jail for odds are that you wouldn’t survive back in the day. People would make sure you didn’t return. The law system can also seem a bit iffy at times with how sentences are dealt out. One of Gil’s papers was warning people that Howard may plead temporary insanity and then he’d be let go without a jail sentence. It’s something that people actually do try. Then you have others who are in jail for murder and when released they go right back to it.

The law’s not perfect, but nobody should be skipping due process to play vigilante. That being said, I just didn’t really see a problem with what Gil was saying. He didn’t beat around the bushes with his takes but he wasn’t using hyperbole or being too over the top either. It is what it is I suppose. Once the mob lined up there really wasn’t anything the cops could do. It would definitely be a scary situation to be in though for all parties involved. You’re effectively locked in with a few hundred crazy people and no escape. Even if you aren’t their target you have to be careful that you aren’t attacked in the mix up.

Overall, Try and Get Me is a pretty solid film. It can be rather tense at times and quite a lot of things happen during the film’s length of time. If you’re up for a good suspense film then this is a nice one to check out. We’ll see what you think on the matter with Gil. The ending is definitely intense and ends on a pretty somber note. The writing is solid and I don’t really have any negatives to report here. It’s just a pretty good movie that has mostly flown under the radar over time.

Overall 7/10