Monday, 3 August 2009

The City Under The City

"Why don't you quit cryin' and get me some bourbon?"

Watched "The Asphalt Jungle" again.
Quite a while since I last saw it and it just knocked me out all over again.
It has a moral subtlety and emotional depth, despite touches of melodrama,
a respectful attentiveness to each character's background, unique vulnerabilities
and quirks that lifts it above many other crime films. It is superbly cast.
It's one of those noir classics that you could watch again and again just to
study the play of emotions on the actor's faces in close up,
as well as the framing, lighting, movement within any given shot, etc.
I think one reason that you get so involved is that the music is pretty minimal and,
although highly dramatic, it only comes in at crucial moments
(the robbery sequence is a good example of this) and more often you are
acutely sensitised to the various significant silences between the players.
For me the film is especially memorable for Sterling Hayden's terrific performance,
by turns edgy and restless, unflappably cool, startlingly amusing, and strangely touching.

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