Sunset Boulevard ★★★★★

You know that feeling when you're just about to start a great book -- usually, ones that lead up to a tragedy with in-depth character studies and historical fiction? Like The Great Gatsby or even Lord of the Flies. The words are visceral, each key moment could be visualized based on your personal touch. That's probably what makes Wilder's Sunset Blvd. such an off-the-bat classic because it's one of the only films that truly feel like it's jumping out of a book. And by that I mean, each line of dialogue or keyframe could be broken down and sulked upon for decades on end. It's beautifully layered in every way with opening and closing shots so glorious, they could be printed and framed in the richest of golds.

Norma Desmond (brought to life in iconic fashion by Gloria Swanson) is a perfect victim of illusion v. reality, frankly because she never once sees the world devoid of the glitter and glam. She lives in her past and refuses to believe that time has passed her. Her tragedy is masked by the high attention to gothic flamboyance -- grasping her talons on a young writer, trapping him into her grand lair and using him to fuel her passion to live in the silver screen. The craftmanship in the set design is extraordinary. Desmond's estate is extremely unsettling with all its shadows and extravagant furnishings; it comes off as a shrine or mausoleum. Like I'm entering an extension to the Bates', it's unwelcoming and otherworldy but still very intriguing.

Apart from this gem, Wilder has a report card of the freshest of films ranging from 'Some Like it Hot' all the way down to 'The Apartment', and I'm looking forward to delving into his filmography more.