1949 / 73m - USA
Crime, Sport
The Set-Up poster


December 29, 2020


As far as film-noirs go, I seem to prefer the shorter, limited location films. The Set-Up may be quite basic, but that's exactly what makes it fun to follow. No elaborate setups that don't really pan out, no long list of uninteresting twists, no unnecessary fat. Just a bare-bones skeleton and plenty of atmosphere.

Stoker is a boxer who is hoping to get his big break, though it never seems to be happening for him. Until one night, when he finally dominates his adversary in the ring. The only problem is that he's supposed to be throwing the match. When Stoker doesn't want to go down, it's going to cost him dearly.

Performances are decent, the tension is tangible and the stark black and white cinematography feels appropriate. The short runtime makes sure the film never gets boring, even though the pacing is quite slow (pretty much real-time). The ending is a bit bland, but otherwise not a bad film.