Fritz Lang goes noir. This is only my third Lang film, so it was a bit disheartening to see he went from directing sprawling mood pieces to dialogue-based narratives. I'm not a big noir fan, too many needless dialogues, twist-based narratives and samey characters. Lang's film did nothing to change that perception.
On the contrary, The Big Heat is a pretty standard noir flick. When a respected police man kills himself, there are no clues as to why he did it. Inspector Dave Bannion is put on the case and it's no surprise that he discovers it isn't just a regular suicide. A typical noir plot in other words.
The films rarely goes beyond living rooms and bars, people jabber on endlessly and from time to time someone gets killed. The performances are terribly wooden though, the atmosphere is very minimal and I really didn't care for any of the twists. At least the film was rather short, but with nothing there to keep my attention, that didn't offer much consolation.