Tuesday, October 4, 2011

#414: In a Lonely Place

Directed by: NICHOLAS RAY
1950, TSPDT Rank #292

This is one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen. Nicholas Ray created a film noir tour-de-force with this film. The pairing of Bogart and Gloria Grahame is sublime and perfect, on a completely different level than the famous Bogart and Bacall pairing. Nicholas Ray was clearly a much better director for Bogart than Howard Hawks, and yes, I am saying that this is much better than both To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep, great films though they are. The visual sense here is incredible, and this is hands down Bogart's best performance of all time, and certainly even one of the best by any actor. He is violent, bitter, sensitive, romantic, cynical, clever, creative, and horribly insecure all at once. There is not a single area where I could fault the movie. I might even fault it for the pit of despair it eventually throws you in - but for any lover of film noir, such as myself, that aspect is oddly as delicious as it is totally shattering. And with In a Lonely Place being a film noir, a dark, grim ending should not normally be a fault. The vivid rendering of these characters, the intensity of the script, and the visual closeness felt watching the film does not prepare you for the gut-wrenching emotional effect of the film. There are no stock characters here, and Ray does not manipulate you into siding with any one of them in particular. In a Lonely Place is a masterpiece. To me, it seems immune to criticism. It was Jean-Luc Godard who said, "The cinema is Nicholas Ray," and this film has fully proved the truth of that statement to me.

(Rating: 10/10)

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