Monday, March 18, 2019

So Dark the Night

1946, US, directed by Joseph S. Lewis

Lewis is one of those filmmakers who is so deliberate with his choices that it's almost impossible not to be aware that there's a director at work, making conscious choices over each aspect of the structure and storytelling. Nothing is careless or accidental, for instance in his exceptional use of framing -- here there are frames within frames, grids, or lamps and other objects that unexpectedly intrude in the foreground, forcing the eye to look around to focus on the actors, or ask just why the camera is placed there and what this conveys of the directorial eye. All this is at the service of a story that's frankly on the outer edges of B-movie credibility, in an odd, out-of-time version of rural France, and yet that barely matters as the plot advances and Lewis centers in more and more tightly on a disintegrating mind.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States