March 12, 2006

I regurgitate my thoughts on Kiss Me Deadly

A couple of years ago I watched Kiss Me Deadly for the first time. While I know the movie is well thought of by quite a few people, I have to be honest: I hated it. Here's a portion of the review I wrote back when I saw it:
While the tonal darkness of the film is appropropriate, the lack of balance with anything off-setting makes the overall movie feel like a lengthy root canal procedure. It's painful and unrelenting. The ending, while fitting, leaves you wondering about the point of the whole thing. The film begins in darkness and ends in deeper darkness and while this may make it almost the quinessential noir film it also reveals the weakness of the noir approach, at least when taken to excess. As with consuming too much of any good thing, you're left feeling queasy.

The film makes for an interesting study though. As one of the latter films of the initial wave of noir films (roughly mid 40's to mid 50's), it shows the style at its furthest reaches of development. Its strengths have now become weaknesses. The darkness that informed the style in its beginnings and created a tone for the telling of certain stories has now become the dominent feature of the stories. It's far too excessive here.

Noir, I think, is essentially romance turned on its head. It's about disappointment and its mood is melancholy. In Kiss Me Deadly, the undertone of romantic loss is gone and is replaced by self-indulgent cynicism (the ultimate opposite end of romance). It ends now not in disappointment but horrific "I told you so" disaster.

While I suppose it's as legitimate viewpoint as any, as a film experience it's an unpleasant one.

Recommended for noir freaks only. Definitely NOT recommended for anyone suffering from depression.
You know, I'd like to give the movie another chance. But I had such a negative response to it the first time, I find it difficult to bring myself to watch it again. But maybe one day.

(By the way ... there's an interesting discussion about in this thread, Kiss Me Deadly debate.)

Kiss Me Deadly:
- (U.S.)
- (Canada)

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