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Entries in Kiss Me Deadly (1)

Tuesday
Nov152016

Noirvember: Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

It's Noirvember. Here's Bill Curran on a Robert Aldrich's neo-noir

The world turned upside down, inside out. Film noir depends on following innate impulses to that most ultimate, unthinkable, irrational end: death. Noir explores that nasty thing called "human nature, revealing (and revelling in) the elemental urges that really make us tick. Noir unmasks the mechanics of this crazy world with some variation on a guy, a girl, and a gun. Upending sexual-patriarchal dynamics, leveling the tenants of justice and who is responsible for carrying it out, filming what we do in the shadows in the half-light: when you flip the script on taste and convention, you can learn a lot about how topsy-turvy this whole mess called Earth can be. 

Kiss Me Deadly stews in and subverts these genre contradictions more brazenly than almost any other film noir before or since, perhaps because it is, in the end, about the dawn of the end of the world. Gonzo and sophisticated in equal measure, from the backward title scrawl to the A-bomb finale, this loose 1955 adaptation of the Mickey Spillane novel could be called the first neo-noir and what the Cahier du cinema crowd dubbed, "the thriller of tomorrow.”

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