TatangSutarma’s review published on Letterboxd:
The answer to what happened when insurance fraud meets classic American film noir is accidental death.... and Double Indemnity. This movie always comes up on the list of best film noir of all time, whether it is on the top five or top ten. Me being a person with little knowledge about the said genre of course naturally gets attracted to the movie. The lists are not wrong, Double Indemnity is a spectacular movie.
Double Indemnity has everything that film noir has. Femme fatale, plot twists, murder, shadow, a little bit of seduction, firearms, crime, and so on. Although it seems ordinary on the outside, Double Indemnity is not entirely mediocre and plain. The narration is engaging, especially with how the plot twist in the form of mystery adds up to the curiosity of the audience without having to make them think hard. There is also surprisingly comedy which is actually hilarious and still not out of place. The jokes fit right in to the serious and tense emotion.
Frankly, the conflict resolution seems to be a little rushed for my taste because they created the build-up for tension way too long only for it to be cooled off quickly. The relationship started abruptly and ended in the same way, only that the former is executed better then the latter. Nonetheless, the narration in general is what you would expect from any classic film noir. It is thematic, predictable, follows its formula closely which makes it systematic but still enjoyable. There is just something about film noir which makes it alluring despite most of them being similar to each other.
The cinematography looks fabulous. The black and white atmosphere is heavily boosted by the wonderful adjustment of lighting as well as shadow. Unfortunately, the camerawork is mediocre. The entire cinematography is carried by the lighting which makes the noir ambience felt extremely real. However, Double Indemnity does not have the best cinematography in its genre. Still, it looks awesome. Not to mention the restoration that was done to this movie is terrifyingly mesmerizing it makes the movie seems like it was shot only just recently. It is worth every penny to have the Bluray.
The best aspect of this movie is the acting performance by everyone, but specifically MacMurray, Stanwyck, and Robinson. MacMurray is still the star of this movie which only fits as he plays as the main character. However, his performance is sometimes overshadowed by the beautiful Stanwyck with her exceptional acting with further range and challenging role which she played effortlessly. Robinson is also at the same level as both MacMurray and Stanwyck although sometimes his character merely serves as a comedic relief. At some points the character could be severely serious which only proves how good Robinson is to play as any character with different personalities.
The soundtrack is the weakest part of this movie. Film noir tends to have this iconic soundtrack which improves the narration by a thousand fold. Sadly, this movie has none of it. A fitting melody applied on proper scenes could make this movie better, but Double Indemnity has a mediocre soundtrack which does not bring any positive impact to the movie whatsoever. There is also only a few background music which makes the movie somewhat flat at some scenes.
We're both rotten.