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A Truly Great Film Noir,
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This review is from: Night & the City (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)Night and the City is a brilliant film noir by Jules Dassin. The story is suffocating as we witness the impending doom of the anti-hero, played by Richard Widmark, in what has to be one of the greatest performances of his career. Yet, even though we experience discomfort in witnessing this impending doom, we are nevertheless compelled to watch in fascination as the story evolves.
The cinematography in this film is classic film noir. The film exposes a depressing beauty of the seedy underbelly of London in glorious black and white. Dassin's direction is creative and subtle, as he unravels at a careful pace the angst, frustration, and inevitable descent of the Widmark character, soaking up and igniting the atmospheric quality of the film that makes it such a great film noir.
This film is totally dominated by Richard Widmark. His performance is absolutely unforgettable. The rest of the cast are competent, but are overshadowed by Widmark and his performance. However, special kudos should go to the performance of Stanislaus Zbyszko, who portrays a retired wrestler making a comeback as a decent and sensitive individual who becomes a loyal friend to the Widmark character.
This is probably Dassin's best film in my opinion. A film that at times may be depressing and uncomfortable to watch, but at the same time easily recognizable as one of the best film noirs ever made.