I am an artist, critic, teacher and avid movie buff. Currently, I write about film for "The New York Sun."
Notwithstanding Carl E. Guthrie's cinematography and the on-again, off-again know-how of Vincent Sherman, this cut-rate noir about PTSD, doppelgangers and male bonding is talky when it's not confusing. All those flashbacks! If anything, "Backfire" is a good argument for going from Point A to Point B--no fuss, no muss. Too much muss here.
"The filmmaker is adamant about the ‘growing threat to individual freedom posed by surveillance systems all over the world.’"
The full review can be found at "The New York Sun": www.nysun.com/article/in-total-trust-dissident-filmmaker-jialang-zhang-exposes-communist-chinas-here-and-now-dystopia
Atmosphere, this movie has plenty of; sparkling cinematography, as well. And the actors? Top flight. But this story of murder, mutilation and the military has not an iota of suspense, an abundance of plot holes and an ending that is overly talky when it's not utterly ridiculous. And why poor Edgar Allan Poe was roped into the plot is a gimmick hardly worth mooting. Postmodernist caprice--we can live without it.
An audacious debut by actor-turned-director Charles Laughton, "The Night of the Hunter" is a bizarre amalgamation of fairy tale, monster movie, black comedy, and tract on both the excesses and kindnesses of religiosity. Audiences didn't flock to the thing, and is it any wonder why? Laughton's film is forever shifting its ground underneath our feet, juxtaposing bucolic scenes of country living with a nightmarish symbolism that would be heavy-handed if it weren't so adroitly handled. Despondent over the film's financial failure and critical drubbing, Laughton never directed again. What's left is a one-of-a-kind masterstroke.