Kansas City Confidential

I guess I am on a film noir kick. Right after watching The Stranger and right before watching Alphaville, I decided this film would be great to add to my Movies I’ve Seen by Year list. (Yes that list does exist and is one of my many rituals I go into after watching a film. If you are as obsessed about film as I am, then you have many little lists that compartmentalized what you have seen and how you like it. My opinion matters, damn it!) The premise of the film is a simple one. Four guys pull off a bank heist and all of them disappear from the town and go into hiding. They then meet back up in order to split the money, but something is wrong. Mr. Big is actually a retired police officer and the man who says he is one of the people who pulled off the job is actually someone who was innocently framed for it. Tempers rise, love becomes entangled, back door deals are made and remade and everyone is doomed.

What I liked most about this film was the tension between the bank robbers. They go to this paradise and none of them can enjoy it, because they are so tense about getting their money. There a lot of shots of people looking at other people out the corner of their eye or talking in code or beating people up and then lying about it. This is why I like film noir. It isn’t because of the obligatory love story, but because of the underbelly of crime. Every director has some sort of variation on their idea of what a criminal is and it is nice to explore those differences. In this film for example, each criminal has a compulsion. One criminal chain smokes and another chews gum. Each criminal has some sort of vice which gets them into trouble every time they do a job. Even the man who orchestrating everything has faults, because he is human. Only a computer can pull off a perfect job.

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