North by Northwest ★★★★

This is obviously a terrific film, very entertaining and a groundbreaking predecessor to the modern action/adventure flick. I mean it’s Hitchcock after all, he is masterful at creating tension, suspense and thrills. 

And in North by Northwest he has also given himself a break from the heavier psychological themes in some of his other work, to really flex his comedic chops. Cary Grant is of course the perfect lead actor to do so. James Bond before that was a thing, he is charming, suave, cheeky and clever but can also fall down and make funny faces when necessary.

Unfortunately, this is the weakest Hitchcock film I’ve seen so far. I’m not sure if its because I was never invested in the romance and thought it dull and underdeveloped. Or maybe that the larger scope and “running around” failed to create the same effect that a more contained film could do (Rear Window, Rope). There wasn’t a real explanation for what Vandamm was up to, and the comedy got in the way of the drama sometimes.

But all that aside, this still has some great set pieces and generally visually interesting scenes. The score is on point, Cary Grant is hilarious, the final act is classic Hitchcock and anything involving trains and being a fugitive from justice is always a guaranteed success. Felt a lot shorter than it was and certainly never boring!

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