On Dangerous Ground ★★★★½

I knew I was going to love this right from the start. Sometimes I just get that feeling; everything seems right.
This is a film of two parts, the first being an excellent study of the dark heart of the city. It's a beautiful start, like a textbook of noir, with some great dialogue too. It shows Robert Ryan's character struggling with loneliness, rage, and rank cynicism, drowning in the darker side of human nature that he comes into contact with every day - and with nothing and no-one in his life to act as counterweight, he's sinking fast. Getting handy with his fists one too many times, he's packed off to deal with a murder case in the country up north. I loved the change in tone here; as if the film were reversed from positive image to negative, the black shadows reversed into swathes of bright white snow.
Suddenly Ryan's Jim Wilson seems very out of place with his sharp overcoat and fedora and his city cop ways, among the country people pursuing their own form of justice. But human nature is human nature, whether you're in the city or the country, and ultimately it is up to Wilson to face himself, his fears and flaws, and decide whether to let himself sink, or hold out a hand for help.
Fantastic performance by Robert Ryan, and Ida Lupino is excellent as always.
I think it makes a nice counterpart to In A Lonely Place.

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