Kiss Me Deadly ★★★★

Like most midcentury American noir this is appreciably ramshackle. Note how every time Hammer, the gumshoe at the center of a mystery that has to do with a woman who’s escaped from a mental institution and a group of men resolving to find her, opens his wallet to resignedly bribe one of his sources that the money is dirty and crumpled. Without looking he straightens it before handing it over. The whole movie has the same crude, sooty value. Little of the plot coheres after a while, and like most noirs this posits an air of mystery and intrigue that you’re inclined to either dwell in or not (I very much am), but this all proves to be scaffolding for the most incendiary ending I have ever seen in a film.