Casablanca ★★★★½

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“Here’s looking at you kid,”

When you think of iconic movies, Casablanca is probably one of the first you think of. Maybe it’s for that reason that’s it taken me so long to watch, it’s iconic status is almost off putting on the off chance that it won’t connect with you as much as everyone else. Though thankfully, that’s not the case here, I think it’s a really rather brilliant movie, well deserving of its iconic status. 

It deals with a lot more than I thought it would, having the war being such a prevalent theme came as a surprise to me. It deals with loss and the themes of war in a time, when the war was still happening around the world. It’s subtle in its nature with these themes, never pushing too hard, and allowing the romantic elements of the main story take the lead. The themes still feel prevalent to this day, all these years on.   

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are fantastic leads. There’s some great smaller side characters too, but the film centres on this couple for most of its run time. They have so much chemistry between them, and it’s these two that carry the weight of the film. Seeing Rick’s personal journey across the film, slowly becoming more compassionate and thoughtful for others as the plot progresses. The way the film is shot, close ups on the two of them, so that even in the quieter or mor silent moments, it still allows for their emotions and thoughts to be shown on screen. 

There’s a brilliant script for the film too. So many iconic lines of dialogue between all the characters, but nearly every line from Rick seems to be an iconic and quotable piece of dialogue, remembered to this day. The plot is mostly paced well, allowing the characters to push to the front and keep the movie interesting. The build up to the iconic ending perhaps feels a little abrupt and I wish it had spent a little longer on it, but the final 5 or so minutes are a brilliantly emotional payoff for what comes before. 

It’s a film I’m glad to have seen, and will surely watch again. A really great piece of old Hollywood cinema.

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