Shadow of a Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt ★★★★½

Weekly Recap 27

Damn, I didn't realise until now just how much Park Chan-wook's Stoker is influenced by this film. I already knew Park was like the Korean Hitchcock, but the directing is definitely much more consistently strong with this old master filmmaker, as I really felt Park fumbled the ball when trying to add his own spin to a story Hitchcock had already done so well.

Shadow of a Doubt is among Hitchcock's pre golden age works, so his style hasn't yet reached the heights he's so famous for nor does the writing craft the thematically rich narratives that makes him so enticing to analyse. And yet this is practically a faultless film, with great dialogue teeming in subtle subtext, captivating performances to show off the nuanced characterisation, minimal yet purposeful camera technique to accentuate the most important moments, and brisk pacing to elevate the enticing plot with a never ending sense of thrill.

There's many moments in here that might seem too inconspicuous or even unnecessary - which for me would normally serve as a point of critique - but it all adds up to bring the family to life, thus giving the fact that they're innocently hiding a murderer in their house greater suspense. I particularly loved the way the father and his friend would often ponder about how they'd kill each other (something I can relate with) as that made for a hilarious running gag to serve as a nice bit of dramatic irony in the way it obliviously mirrors the actual murderer.

So while the plot might not dare to endeavour into any territory that could be considered as particularly thought provoking - nor is there any real visual flair to make the picture an enchanting spectacle - the film itself is genuinely as perfectly crafted as it can get.

I give this film an A4

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