Directed by Carol Reed
This is one of those films that I know, as a filmmaker, I’m supposed to love more than I actually ended up doing so. Watching this film was more or less the polar opposite of watching “Battle Royale”. That’s not to say that the film isn’t any good, because it is. Quite good actually. But the entire time I was watching it, I couldn’t help but think, “I should really be enjoying this more” and that kind of feeling does not lend well to the watching of cinema.
Still, the film has an intriguing premise. If you suddenly found out that your best friend in the world was more or less a cold-blooded killer, can you just ignore the years of friendship and actively work against them? For the most moral of us, it seems like an easy question to answer, but so few of us have ever been in such a situation that maybe the answer isn’t as cut and dry as we imagine it is. Having said that however, it didn’t become quite clear to me that this was the message of the film until late in the game. And thinking back on this premise now, after having finished the film, more time could have been spent building up the friendship of Harry and Holly to better serve the film.
Other notes? The cinematography is often stunningly beautiful. The locations are also astoundingly well utilized, even the finale that takes place in the sewers (sewers that Orson Welles made Carol Reed recreate on a studio lot because he refused to actually go into a real sewer, mind you) is beautiful to look at. But besides a truly mesmerizing five-minute scene between Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles on a ferris wheel, most of the film has already left my (admittedly shady) memory banks. But as a filmmaker, it still remains one of those films that we just “have to” see.