Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Thrillers - Andrew Wickliffe ""

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Underrated Thrillers - Andrew Wickliffe

Andrew Wickliffe has been blogging about film and comic books for almost ten years.
1. The Woman in White (1948)
I always have a hard time describing The Woman in White. It's a costume drama period piece, set in the mid-1800s, with Syndey Greenstreet terrorizing, but there's also a lot of difficult romance.
Greenstreet's always good as a terrorizing villain, but Woman in White also has a fantastic, three part damsel in distress situation (Eleanor Parker--in two roles--and Alexis Smith). The supporting cast is
strong, the main cast is sturdy enough, and the element of danger is constant. It's a surprisingly effective late forties entry from Warner.

2. The Seventh Victim (1943)
My favorite of the Val Lewton-produced RKO thrillers; it's masterful stuff from director Mark Robson with an especially strong script from DeWitt Bodeen and Charles O'Neal. Dealing with issues like urban apathy and discontent, The Seventh Victim alternates between lulling the viewer into some sense of grounding and complete confusion. It's a wonderful film, with a great performance from Kim Hunter in her debut.

3. Delusion (1991)
Businessman Jim Metzler runs into mob flunky (and moron) Kyle Secor and his seductive girlfriend (Jennifer Rubin) after ripping off his company. There's constant danger--Secor isn't just dumb, he's psychotic--director Carl Colpaert and co-writer Kurt Voss keep all the characters on edge. No one's innocent, but it's unclear how guilty anyone is either.

4. The Lookout (2007)
Scott Frank's neo-noir has a big gimmick--Joseph Gordon-Levitt's protagonist has brain damage and can't retain short term memories. He gets involved in a heist and has to work his way out of it. The film's equal parts thriller and character study, with a great performance from Gordon-Levitt and an outstanding script from Frank. Terrifying performance from Matthew Goode as the bad guy too.

5. Bound (1996)
The Wachowskis' first movie--a neo-noir with Gina Gershon as the hero and Jennifer Tilly as the dumb (or not dumb) moll she falls for. The film embraces the gender politics of the changes, using that friction to create a very slick thriller. It's a great looking film already, but the depth comes from the Wachowskis' ambitions with Gershon as the decidedly female noir protagonist.

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