Follow Me Quietly ★★½

So what we have here is a perfectly rote police procedural that starts and ends with the least amount of surprise and fuss possible but is then bifurcated with the most WTF bit of unexplained Lynchian weirdness I’ve ever seen in an otherwise normal movie. Seriously — imagine one of those no-name 30s oaters that TCM plays at 5 in the morning, and halfway through, some cowboy does the head-squishing thing from DEAD MAN, then the movie proceeds on its merry way like nothing untoward ever happened. One one hand, I’m glad this movie with this scene exists, because everyone likes to be terrified out of the blue for no damn good reason. On the other hand, though, the scene writes a check it could never cash, at least on the level of plot. Actually, that’s not what it is — the problem is that the scene prepares us for a major twist, some kind of psychological revelation, if only on the basis of atmosphere. But no doing. It’s just there, a nightmarish intrusion, which simultaneously makes it more terrifying but also reveals itself as a stunt, a goosing, and one that lifts right out of the narrative. It’s a blown opportunity. What I’m saying is, someone give me the remake rights.

(Note: the film is available on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBrld3zfWG8. It’s only 60m, but if you just want to see “the scene”, start at 27:53 for full context, 31:12 for the moment in question.)