Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity ★★★★½

An essential Noir from Billy Wilder that manages to deftly weave all of the tropes throughout its superbly constructed plot. What really impresses me about Double Indemnity (as well as a lot of Wilder's more serious work) is how it never loses its playful tone despite its dark thematic focus on morality and the ever-increasing sense of tension. The striking black & white photography and urgent score are balanced out by the droll narration and the sharp banter between the two leads.

Wilder's writing style is tailor-made for this kind of story. He has the remarkable ability to create dialogue that is witty, poetic and full of clever foreshadowing without it ever feeling unnatural. I also can't praise the main cast enough as they all fit their roles impeccably. Fred MacMurray is cool and detached but sympathetically naive, Edward G. Robinson is funny yet intense and Barbara Stanwyck is wonderfully calculating as one of the great femme fatales. The captivating presence of these three actors really helps everything connect.

Definitely a key film of the era and of Wilder's impressive filmography.

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