Sunset Boulevard ★★★★★

My First Review of Sunset Boulevard

Just as sharp, stylish, fresh and full of passion as the first time I saw it.

Sunset Boulevard is an extraordinary film about an extraordinary woman, Norma Desmond, whose so consumed by epic visions of her comeback that she travels down a path of delusion and fury. She's one of the great film characters, stands alongside Alex DeLarge and Charles Foster Kane. Gloria Swanson's performance is extraordinary, always Gothic and always teetering on the edge of parody, but always succeeded because she convinces perfectly, and because her face expresses precisely and powerfully.

I think why I'm so attracted to Sunset Boulevard is because it gets film noir so right. What makes film noir so great to me is that it mixes violence and emotional tumult with the glamour and allure of Classic Hollywood. That combo thrills the soul for me. Sunset Boulevard handles this combo beautifully: Its brilliant hard-boiled dialogue and gorgeous cinematography give incredible style to the psychological delusion and torment of Norma Desmond, the strange love of Joe Gillis, and the peculiar drama that enfolds them. No one but Billy Wilder could have made this strange noir sizzle this well, and because of that, Sunset Boulevard is one of the best films in Hollywood history.

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