Thursday, 5 February 2009
Even though this was made when film noir was still evolving, Otto Preminger’s Laura was not just a great pioneer but also a terrific case study of the hallowed American genre. Despite the fact that at the time of its making the movie was embroiled in controversy, the final output was as brilliant and magnetic a piece of work as you’ll get. The dark tale of an alleged murder of the enigmatic titular character, whose portrait the detective gets infatuated with (revealing anymore would be criminal on my part), provides a fascinating dissection of the inherent ambiguities and the seedy side of the human character, and rabid decadence of the then post-war society. The pacing is brisk, and the narrative is gripping and decidedly claustrophobic – laden with lust, sexual undercurrent, guilt, jealousy, deception, betrayal and crime. The screenplay is laced with pungent cynicism, brought forth thanks to the memorable hard-boiled dialogues, while the rich black-and-white cinematography is classic-Noir with its mesmerizing interplay between light and shadows.
Director: Otto Preminger
Genre: Film Noir/Mystery/Detective Movie/Psychological Thriller