Cine_Addict’s review published on Letterboxd:
This had to be something really good so I depended on good old Billy Wilder to give me just that. And whadya know? Sunset Boulevard was great. I’d say it was like The Player, if Tim Robbins stumbled across The Haunted Mansion or some shit, but how reductive would that be? This movie, like everything I can imagine Wilder wrote, has layers... like an onion... or an ogre. I remember seeing The Apartment a few months ago and being in awe of how it was able to straddle such a thin line inbetween hilarious comedy and depressing tragedy, while being both gorgeous and well acted. Boulevard hits that exact same level of well sculpted intricacy but with an old Hollywood noir twist.
This isn’t a tale of clumsiness and comedy with a hint of tragedy, this whole tale is a tragedy of circumstance. Sunset Boulevard is a story of contrasting lifestyles and the allure and inherent sadness that can impact those involved. A man with nothing, yearns for something and in desperation, falls into the twisted life of a woman with it all. He’s in an opportune position, finally in a place that can fulfil him... but there’s an emotional cost and it’s not just for him. The other player in this game is a fragile former starlet, grasping onto her glory years like hands in sand, the grains slipping further and further away as she hides herself away in her crumbling mansion, a monument to her former success. We begin with a victim, but is it possible that there’s more than one?
It takes pure talent to take two very complex characters and flesh them out fully over less than two hours, much less make it entertaining to watch. This fucked up pair and their very fucked up relationship go from being straight up dysfunctional to downright sad. Money and fame can corrupt not just the physical but the mental, so much so that Sunset Boulevard is a tragic chess game by the end. Lives are turned into hand crafted lies. Facades are placed to paper over the mental cracks. But what happens when the players wander off the board and one of them is holding a revolver, cynicism and disillusionment holding the trigger? We begin and end the story face down in the pool, but what matters isn’t the what, it’s the how and the why. And that’s how movies should be made.