Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Middle rank film, top Bogart., 31 May 2011
This review is from: Dead Reckoning [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
When Rip's {Humphrey Bogart} army pal Johnny does a runner from the train taking them to Washington, it's the start of a shadowy street search that Rip undertakes to find out why his friend would do that. It soon becomes evident that Johnny was not who he said was, something that makes Rip's journey one that will involve, murder, deception and one hell of a dame.

Dead Reckoning has a mixed relationship with critics and Bogart/Noir fans alike. Some are harsh on Lizabeth Scott who plays femme fatale Coral Chandler, while others have issues with the plot, calling it rambling and incoherent to the dialogue on offer. I disagree with both those things. Scott is just fine for what is a wonderfully well written character, her facial characteristics are indeed expressionless at times, but this to my mind adds an icy veneer to her character arc. She also has a knack of looking vulnerable, something that is very crucial to the film and her character in particular. The plot doesn't ramble to me, it's bonkers, yes it is, but that adds to the mystery of it all. Told in flashback as Rip confesses to a priest, all threads are however neatly pulled together to finally reveal a delightfully complete, yet surprising Noirish whole. Yeah it's a jumble of conundrums, and twists and turns come and go, that's kind of the selling point really. To me at least anyway. Whilst some of the dialogue on show is as cheeky as Bogie got to deliver in the 40s. I was laughing whilst duly expecting something bad to be at the end of it.

There's an air of genre familiarity with the piece, no question about that. And if implausibility factors are an issue, you best stay away. But it has a nice line in atmosphere, brutality is never far away one feels, and it's a nice shoot with Leo Tover's cinematography understated and at ease with the tone of the film. Bogart is just great, this is what we want from the great man, spouting put downs and pearls of wisdom in a grim crime movie. However bonkers it may be. 8/10
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