films seen
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Alive and kicking
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Du Rififi chez les Hommes
1955 / 118m - France
Crime, Thriller
Rififi poster

A very basic and expected heist flick. It feels like a blueprint for many heist films that would follow, the problem is that this takes away most of the tension as it is all so predictable. Technical qualities are mediocre, acting is decent, the plot is a little long-winded. I'm sure it might've been a decent film in its time, but very little of that original shine remains.

Brute Force

1947 / 98m - USA
Crime, Thriller
Brute Force poster

A "gritty" prison drama (and yes, the quotes are warranted). For its time Brute Force might've been quite dark and rugged, but since then there have been so many rougher and grittier prison dramas that the film has lost quite a bit of its punch. It all comes off a bit too clean and proper by modern standards.

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Joe Collins is one of the prisoners locked up in the Westgate prison. The men are treated like animals and the wardens abuse the power they have. When Collins is put on the toughest duty because a cellmate of his committed suicide, he figures it is time to plan his escape from the wretched place.

Though things do heat up in the second half of the film, the execution of both action and thriller elements remains a little underwhelming. The film does have a few memorable moments and the performances aren't too bad, but it's not enough to make a lasting impression. Brute Force didn't stand the test of time.

Night and the City

1950 / 100m - USA
Crime, Thriller
Night and the City poster

The only way to get a real feel for a genre is to watch many (many) niche films, and so I'm slowly catching up with all the film noir films I've ignored over the years. I can't say the genre is growing on me, but at least I'm finally getting a better idea of what defines a typical film noir feature.

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Fabian is a small-time, ambitious crook who is looking for a way to move up in the underworld. When he encounters Gregorius, an ex wrestling champion, Fabian figures he can make a solid buck organizing fights. By doing so, he moves in on Kristo's territory, a crime boss who just happens to be Gregorius' son.

So far, shorter seems to be better for film noir films. Simple plots and tragic characters don't really gel well, the longer runtimes merely put extra focus on the mediocre performances and forgettable narratives. Dassin's direction isn't all that notable either, so there wasn't really anything that kept me hooked. Not a great film.

The Naked City

1948 / 96m - USA
Crime, Thriller
The Naked City poster

A film famous for not being shot inside a film studio (but in the center of New York City). That might've been interesting 70s years ago, nowadays, it's not really much of a selling point. And so The Naked City turned out to be a very basic noir, with some cops trying very hard to figure out a murder case.

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Jean, an ex-model, is killed in her apartment. Two detectives, one seasoned cop and one rookie) are put on the case. They go around the neighborhood, asking people for information. It doesn't take long before they're on the tail of a group of burglars, who seem to be related to the case.

Though the films boasts (literally, in the intro monologue) about its use of outside locations, there are still many indoor scenes. These are incredibly dull, just static shots of men endlessly discussing the murder case. It isn't until the very end that New York is used to its fullest potential, but I'd stopped caring at least an hour earlier.