Side Street ★★★

I was comparing this film a lot to Quicksand as I was watching, a film which has a very similar plot but does it better, in my opinion. Both films fall into that noir convention where characters are pushed by the world towards having no other option than to make a morally wrong decision, only to get punished by the universe for making said decision. This dramatically ironic yet tragic story plotline is a reflection of the contemporary postwar milieu where traditional notions of objective morality has been thrown out the window in favor of an embracement of a Camusian Absurdism. In Quicksand, the film is engaging, fun, energetic, frustrating and suspenseful as the plot spirals out of control due to one silly mistake. At first he owes someone $20, before it soon turns to $20,000. There’s a twist every couple of minutes and it constantly keeps you on your toes. Side Street similarly has a plotline where a character takes what he assumes is a small amount of cash before realizing it is a lot more than he expected. However, after this point, the film doesn’t seem to do much. The pace is a bit laborious and not enough happened to keep me engaged. The criminals and cops are chasing him, he hides out briefly, and then they all catch up to him. The film does deliver some excellent performances, moments of catharsis, and great cinematography, but the story and plot was just not engaging enough for me to be glued to my seat, as I ended up only half focusing on the events unfolding before me. Disappointing. Still good, but not as good as I had hoped.

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