Casablanca ★★★★★

Rewatched with my mother as an early Valentines Day date movie. So glad she loved it!

Casablanca is, simply put, one of the greatest works to come from the world of cinema. It manages to showcase a beautifully told story with a profound message that tells us that it is ok to sacrifice what we desire most in order to benefit those who are in need of help. The ending, in particular, is the perfect way to get this divine message across.

Remember the last time i logged this film where i said that it is “a rare piece of cinema that we don’t get nowadays”? Well, the reason i said this (which most people already know) is because it is the pure definition of a “PERFECT” film. Every single aspect of this film is flawlessly crafted and executed, and it all starts with the quite possibly the best screenplay ever written. The script manages to contain dialogue that not only contains so many quotable/memorable lines, but it is the type of dialogue that both advances the story and conveys so much about the characters and the arcs they fulfill by the end to the point where not a single word feels like a waste. Every piece of it is integral to the story in some way. That’s the sign of a phenomenal screenplay.

From a directing perspective, this film soars. Michael Curtiz presents a film with a story whose tone never feels too sentimental for its own good, which could’ve been a huge flaw seeing how most romance films fall into that trap. Thankfully, Curtiz manages to balance sentimentality with raw human emotion in a way that is not done in most Hollywood production nowadays. He also has a way with actors by managing to make every one of them in this film give it their all with passion and authenticity.

Speaking of which, every single performance in this film is pitch perfect. Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains and Paul Henreid give excellent performances, but the true star of the show (in terms of acting) is Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine. He creates a portrait of a man with a heart as cold as ice who has to learn the meaning of sacrifices and how they can benefit those who need his help. Because of how perfectly he realizes his character throughout the course of the story (along with the excellent script), it makes him a hero that is simultaneously easy to root for and one that is provided (in a natural manner) with a satisfying arc by the end of the film.

From a technical perspective, this film is a marvel. The film is already well-paced to begin with, but this film’s editing (which is also already great on its own) also manages to make the story flow in a natural manner, thus making it easy to follow. The cinematography and musical score work as excellent pieces for this film’s storytelling puzzle. They manage to communicate certain ideas about the characters and story while also matching the tone and setting perfectly while also working well on their own. The set and costume designs capture the time period perfectly too while also conveying the differences between each character superbly.

What else needs to be said about this masterclass in filmmaking? It is simply one of the finest in all of cinema, and one that i will continue to revisit for as long as till kingdom come.

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