Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity ★★★★½

My goodness, Billy Wilder sure knows how to end a movie doesn’t he?

This is noir in its purest form and a great film even on its own. It sucks you in from the first moment and never lets go- it is easy to forget you are watching a movie. This is maybe the first time I’ve experienced a movie being great but in a way that I couldn’t actually explain or describe.

One part of that, though, is of course the performances. This is maybe the quintessential Barbara Stanwyck role and for good reason. Just watch her face while she’s driving the car- the camera never leaves her and it is chilling. Fred MacMurray is also at a career-best and is a tremendous noir leading man. There are just the subtlest of changes in the way he says “baby” throughout the film and those small changes carry so much weight. 

I just adore the way Wilder writes relationships. The dialogue between the pairs that form the center of so many of his best films is so natural because he manages to create these complex, dynamic relationships that you can almost sense within the first few lines exchanged by these characters. Just take when Walter and Phyllis first meet- you know what is happening immediately. Same with Walter and Keyes and their fascinating relationship, deserving of its own full analysis.

I have waited so long to watch this, and it did not disappoint.

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