Sunday, 10 October 2010
Raw Deal 
Iconic B-noir Raw Deal shines as a bright light in perennial Hollywood outsider Anthony Mann’s oeuvre, despite being a hyper-violent ride. What could have been a run-of-the-mill genre movie, turned into a thing of beauty thanks to Mann’s bravura style and flair. Made right after his T-Men, Raw Deal is on one hand a revenge film with Joe Sullivan (played effectively by the lumbering Dennis O’Keefe) escaping from prison in order to get even with a sadistic gangster who double-crossed him, while on the other it is a curiously charged tale of ménage à trois between Sullivan, his obsessed fiancé and a dangerously beautiful legal aide who he develops the kicks for. More than the plot, the movie relies on heavy stylizations, what with terrific usage of expressionistic photography replete with chiaroscuro, canted camera angles and an overall moody cinematography. That, coupled with a script that is peppered with smart dialogues, a palpable undercurrent of loneliness and carnal desires, and a deep sense of doom and fatalism pervading nearly every scene (thanks in large parts to the haunting voiceover accompanied with an equally haunting, albeit minimalistic, soundtrack), made this relentlessly bleak, strangely poetic and utterly magnetic film a truly fascinating watch.
p.s. And there goes my 400th film review at Cinemascope. And what better way to get there than with the kind of films (read: film noirs) that makes my love for the medium keep growing.
Director: Anthony Mann
Genre: Film Noir/Crime Thriller/Romantic Noir