Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Still the First Man

Film noir in the truest sense of the term, The Third Man crafts a breathtaking story out of chiaroscuro shadows both literally and figuratively. Never to my knowledge has the pulp detective thriller form been executed so elegantly, whether in the utterly sincere performances of some of the greatest actors ever to grace the screen, the brilliant manipulation of darkness both to obscure and reveal men and motives, and a script that takes seriously the thought lives both of its own characters and of its audience. The closing shot alone probably deserves some kind of honorary acclaim, and I would recommend the movie for that single moment even were the rest of it unmitigated trash.

The only marks on this otherwise flawless masterpiece are a distracting preponderance of Dutch angles (we get it, Reed - the perspectives are skewed) and a rather interminable chase sequence in the final act. As for the much-celebrated zither-only score, I cannot say I was overly impressed, nor was I in any way disappointed; apathetic would be a better word. These few preferential cavils, however, are hardly enough to mar this gem of cinema. The Third Man is a film for people who love films and who love to take them seriously. Hell, it's a film for everyone else, too.

Arbitrary Numerical Rating: 10/10


  1. Absolutely one of my favorite films, ever. Personally, I love the soundtrack.

    Elizabeth Gross

  2. I think it's growing on me. It's been a while since I wrote this, and I think with another viewing I'd be even more predisposed to comment favorably on the score.