Touch of Evil 1958 ★★★★½

The three-and-a-half minute opening tracking at first glimpse does not seem like anything special, but it is one of the great scenes that alone inspires multiple viewings due to its directional and pacing mastery. Orson Welles' classic noir is one of the definitive films of the genre. Every essential aspect is present and bursting with life: dark, murky atmosphere, an engulfing world of corruption and violence, cynical characters losing themselves in a moral twisting mystery and, as always, an alluring damsel in distress - played by Janet Leigh who would make her mark in the film record books with her short, but unforgettable performance in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). What many miss overlook when viewing this film is just how relevant it is to the time period in which it is portraying; America at its economic height, but also its most socially unstable. Not only does Welles produce a brilliant, polluted script and showcase his technical bravura, but he also has one of his greatest and most brutally transfixing performances. He and Charlton Hesten go head-to-head with their two moral testing, powerhouse performances that are two of the greats of film noir. A Touch of Evil is a classic film that is essential viewing for film buffs of any kind - film noir aficionados rejoice!

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