Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Double Indemnity 
When I decided to watch Double Indemnity, a movie directed by Billy Wilder, adapted from a James M. Cain novel by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, I wasn’t just expecting sparks to fly (considering that Wilder was perhaps one of the finest American directors, while Cain and Chandler hardy had any parallels where hard-boiled fiction was concerned), I was also anticipating a movie drenched in black irony. Though not as acerbic or nihilistic as the other Wilder masterpieces Sunset Boulevard and Ace in the Hole, I wasn’t disappointed on either count. Told in flashbacks, the movie recounts a murky tale of lust, steamy illicit affair, betrayal, double cross, and murder. A cocky insurance agent (Fred MacMurray) – who loves speaking in wisecracks, gets completely enamoured by a seductive (and married) femme fatale (Barbara Stanwyck) who lures him into murdering her husband. Falling head over heels for a sultry blonde is a dangerous thing in film noirs – the kind of stupid act that can get you killed; consequently things soon start spiraling way out of his hands. A plot that twists at every given opportunity, dialogues drenched in hardboiled cynicism, three wonderful performances, moody atmosphere littered with a fantastic use of chiaroscuro, and the bleak irony of the climax, made it one of the greatest movies in its genre; hell, in any genre.
Director: Billy Wilder
Genre: Film Noir/Crime Thriller/Classic Hollywood