Double Indemnity (1944) 4.93/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 87.5
Genre: Film-Noir
Duration: 107 mins
Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson

One of the most defining movies of its genre, Double Indeminty taught generations of film-makers how to tell stories. Barbara Stanwyk plays the femme fatale like it had never been done before, darker and more seductive. Fred MacMurray plays the killer (revealed in the first scene and thus turning the typical murder mystery convention on its head), the charmed insurance salesman whom Stanwyk convinces to kill her husband for the big pay-off. Stanwyk and MacMurray are perfectly in tune with each other and in retrospect, both performances seem to embody the very essence of what we’ve come to expect from a female and male lead in a film noir. Of course, one shouldn’t forget Edward G Robinson’s endearing turn as the wily insurance investigator, the man MacMurray is attempting to outsmart. Behind the camera, Billy Wilder gives a masterclass in the use of light and shadows but more than anything it is the technique and style of Wilder’s and Raymond Chandler’s story-telling that blazed such a magnificent cinematic trail. The structure of the story opened up all sorts of new and fascinating exposition while the dialogue is outright sizzling. The barrage of quick and slick back and forths seems to almost hypnotise the audience and like the very best film-noir, it carries the audience through the picture at a unrelenting pace. Unmissable.

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