Rope ★★★

Disregard my initial rating. I was having a lot of health issues at the time that severely impacted my enjoyment of this -- I didn't even recall the entire last half hour. I decided to give this another watch since a few of my friends really love it, and I was hoping I would too. Anyway, my current thoughts:

My favorite aspect of Hitchcock's direction, across his films, is the way his shots cut together. The juxtaposition of images in his films is what I feel to be the strongest component. The length of each shot is carefully timed in order to achieve the perfect sense of rhythm and pace. In Rope, that aspect is removed entirely. The whole film is less than 10 shots, all of them going as long as possible before the film stock needed to be changed. The rhythm of the cuts is no longer purposive -- they're incidental, and strangely hidden. The overall concept for this film is an interesting one, but I'd agree with Hitchcock himself that it's a bit of an experiment that didn’t work out.

As a tense drama, technically, this works very well. The premise itself leaves more than enough room for tension. Two men commit murder and invite guests over for a party with the dead body still in the room? Sounds great! Guests get closer and closer to discovering their secret, and it has you on the edge of your seat... or at least it would, if I hoped these men would get away with their crime. I know many people do feel that way, and I wish I did too. I don't think you can properly enjoy this film if you don't. Without feeling invested in whether or not they get caught, the tension just isn't there for me. There are still moments that are undeniably very compelling, but as a whole, Rope never really had me.

Another difficulty I had with this film was that I'm just not drawn in by the philosophical discussions. At all. Generally speaking, this is something I enjoy, but not in this situation. The superiority complex and smugness of these men is very off-putting for me. For some, they come across as charming, but I just don’t feel it. Despite their bizarre personalities, the film simply lacks credibility. Why would anyone actually do this? For what benefit? Murder as a means of proving a philosophical point just does not seem like a feasible occurrence. Again, I see the appeal, it just doesn't work for me.

I feel like all I accomplished with this review was bothering my friends even more, but I want to be clear: I don't think this is a bad movie. It's probably a great one. However, it lacks many of the things I've come to crave from a Hitchcock film, and my lack of compassion for the protagonists is a major issue. The plot here is very thin, and without an investment in the characters, there’s not a whole lot here for me. I'm glad I re-watched this, but I think this may be the last time.

Rating: 54/100

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