the night of the hunter

October 9, 2008

would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand? the story of good and evil?

i feel like i’ve stepped into some weird sort of alternate dimension where the film that i just watched, that ranks in at number 40 on the filmpsotting (all-time) top 100 movies list, is not the same film that everyone else has watched.  i don’t understand how it could be.

robert mitchum’s performance was decent in moments.  specifically when he is supposed to be magnetic to the people around him so that they let him into their lives without trepidation, those moments worked well.  i bought the idea that they would find him so engaging and lovable.  what i didn’t buy was almost everything else.  his over-the-top moments were soooo over-the top that i just found myself completely taken out of the film.  i mean the way he plays up the moments of violence or attempted violence are so ridiculous that it took every ounce of suspenese it tried to create right out of the film.

i do not understand all the praise being lauded onto this film.  i really can’t even say that this was competent storytelling.  i think the first 20 minutes are insanely jumbled; characters felt rushed into the film, you never know who these people are that are on the screen, and you can’t make connections between them.  not to mention some of the most absolute worst acting i’ve ever seen (i’m looking at you billy chapin and sally jane bruce).  i mean it was just laughably bad!

it’s also just unbelieveably contrived.  would a woman really just forget all about her husband (in what felt like just days) after he died?  and then run into the arms the next man who enters her life?  is that the way the 40s were run?  i’m not buying it.

it also has some of the oddest set pieces, i’m thinking specifically when the uncle is on the fishing boat and he looks down in the water to see the car, and it looks like he’s looking down in a bathtub.  i couldn’t help but laugh.  and that’s not something i really enjoy.  some people are able to derive pleasure from uninetionally funny films, saying “they’re so bad it’s good!”, but that’s never something i’ve been able to get behind.  poor film making is not funny to me……it’s just sad.

and that was basically it.  just reall awful acting, contrived moments, over-the-topness, nothing was really working.  and i’m surprised that so many people love it.  a lot of the reviews i’ve glossed over have said something to the extent of “it’s corny and outdated, but really suspenseful”.  and i’m more like “it’s corny and outdated, but really suspenseful


i’m running really behind, mostly because i’ve really not had time to watch any movies, but i’ll be getting to the rest of the films listed for last month, this month.  and maybe some write ups on some documentaries (which is what’s going to consume my viewing plate for the next few weeks thanks to a doc class at school).

hey you might even get to read my paper on little dieter needs to fly and rescue dawn (but don’t get your hopes up).


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