Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#291: Ace in the Hole

Directed by: BILLY WILDER
1951, TSPDT Rank #669

Whenever I see a movie like this from the "classic age of Hollywood," I wonder how it possibly got made within the system. It definitely didn't have much success with the critics or audiences at the time. But it is glorious, and thanks to the Criterion Collection we can easily experience its greatness from a different perspective here in the 21st century. It's cynical, bitter, and stuffed with dark humor, and featuring big star Kirk Douglas in one of his darkest and least heroic roles ever. A savage vindiction of the media and the way it exploits peoples' trouble and pain for their own gain, it takes no prisoners and nobody leaves unscathed. Even the 'innocent bystanders' are shown as gluttons for tragedy, flocking to the scene of the accident in the cave when the story gets out and leaving as soon as there's nothing to see anymore. Great shadowy, lurid noir cinematography also. No happy ending, but we are left with one golden lesson: "Tell the truth." Wish I could coin 'em like that....

(Rating: 9/10)

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