Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

I decided to write a few words about Kiss Me Deadly, though it's already been over-analyzed one hundred million god damn times over the years. The reason is actually Wesley Addy, a magnificent actor I discovered in both the above mentioned movie and in Sidney Lumet's Network. I'm quite fond of cold, untrustworthy, characters in movies and addy did this for me twice this week. Not bad at all, and what a fantastic actor. Subtle, not a trace of over-acting or a theatre-esque performance. But back to Kiss Me Deadly.

The reason why I finally saw it goes back to my childhood. I remember a documentary about noir on the Swedish public television. The highlight, and the only thing I remember, was them showing the ending of Kiss Me Deadly - and it blew me away (no pun intended). That scene has stayed with me for so many years, and for a long time I had no idea what movie it was from. I asked people who might new, but strange enought I didn't know which movie I meant - which is strange because it's such a famous movie and such a famous scene.

Kiss Me Deadly have everything I expected from a classic noir, but with a twist that so powerful. Except that there's strange dangerous women, a hard-hitting private dick (Ralph Meeker bitchslapping everyone he meets and sees!), a corrupt police for... but the best of all, a conspiracy. A dangerous conspiracy where we never really knows who's behind it all. Addy, as the almost psychotic Lt. Pat Murphy, drops a few names, a few code words that gives a clue about everything, but the end we never reach so far. We stay way below the real baddies, and the only people left are the greedy businessmen trying to earn some money from the dangerous secret. But they are nobodies anyway. Just roadkills on the way.

To be honest, there's not much going on in the movie. Mike Hammer walks or drives around, talking to people who refuses to talk, and then getting killed, and slowly gets closer to the secret without even knowing what it means or what it is. A lot of people is getting killed during his little investigation, both by him (often in quite sadistic ways, the stalker-scen is very violent and also how he let one of the bad guys kill another baddie in the end)) and the rest by the unknown baddies. Kiss Me Deadly is a classic, a top-notch thriller with a nasty and eerie twist that still leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I like it because it's a movie that never sees it's audience as stupid.

You'll have to think by yourself when watching this movie, something that rarely happens today - or in the past.

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