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Touch of Evil Reviews

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John Beifuss
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Inspired in part by the McCarthy hearings, the movie has lost none of its timeliness: The morality of surveillance technology is among its many themes.

Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) | Original Score: 4/4

June 6, 2014
Matt Brunson
Creative Loafing

This dazzling cinematic achievement has the rare good fortune of being one of those films that somehow seems to improve with each subsequent viewing -- the highest compliment indeed, given that it only takes one showing to evaluate its substantial worth.

Full Review Source: Creative Loafing | Original Score: 4/4

April 18, 2014
Philip French
Observer [UK]

A baroque masterpiece -- dark, complex, perverse, riveting.

Full Review Source: Observer [UK]

March 12, 2013

Total Film

Justly celebrated for its opening crane-tracking shot, Touch Of Evil is proof of Welles' prodigious film-making talents.

Full Review Source: Total Film | Original Score: 5/5

March 12, 2013
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Expressionistic in the extreme, filled with shadows, angles and cinematic flourishes, the film raises the usual brooding nightmare ambiance of film noir to a level few other pictures have attempted.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 5/5

March 12, 2013
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Having the Touch of Evil envisioned by our most creative filmmaker, is a wondrous gift no movie lover should miss.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

March 12, 2013
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Welles'] scenes with brothel-keeper Marlene Dietrich have nothing to do with the plot and everything to do with the rotting heart of this amazing fable: the apotheosis of pulp.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

March 12, 2013
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Indeed, just to see and hear the extraordinary 3 minute and 20 second opening sequence -- a fluid tour de force tracking shot -- without impediment of opening credits and street-sound-masking movie score is accomplishment enough.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A

September 7, 2011
Wesley Lovell
Cinema Sight

Orson Welles' masterwork of greed, treachery and revenge.

Full Review Source: Cinema Sight | Original Score: 4/4

August 15, 2011
Richard T. Jameson
Parallax View

Only the elegiac Magnificent Ambersons has such a powerful, all-pervading atmosphere as Touch of Evil...

Full Review Source: Parallax View

February 20, 2011
Cole Smithey

Welles once fought in a bullring in Spain during his youth. In "Touch of Evil," Welles kills the metaphorical bull.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: A+

June 27, 2010
Bob Westal

Even 50 years after studio heads lost patience and dumped it onto the bottom half of double bills, the final Hollywood film from Orson Welles is the opposite of ordinary.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 4/5

October 18, 2008
Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope

Delightfully entertaining to watch, it is filled with interesting characters and it is playfully irreverent.

Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope | Original Score: B

April 29, 2008
Josh Larsen

When druggies stash Leigh in a hotel room and throw a party, the movie threatens to turn into Reefer Madness, albeit with the visual panache of Citizen Kane.

Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm | Original Score: 4/4

April 17, 2008


It is a testament to Welles' genius that he was able to turn a piece of pulp literature into such a disturbing, sophisticated and, above all, entertaining study of depravity.

Full Review Source: Film4 | Original Score: 5/5

April 7, 2008
Emanuel Levy

One of Welles masterpieces (his first American film in years), this noir thriller of drugs and corruption served as reminder to Hollywood what a brilliant artist he was, using film as vibrant form in its own right, not as extension of drama or literature

Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Original Score: A

May 6, 2007
Sean Axmaker
Seattle Weekly

...Welles' baroque border-town murder mystery is a wild masterpiece, a sleazy, grimy, jittery, and ultimately dazzling work of cinematic magic.

Full Review Source: Seattle Weekly

April 30, 2007
J.D. Lafrance
Film Threat

A cinematic masterpiece and arguably the last great film noir.

Full Review Source: Film Threat | Original Score: 5/5

April 6, 2007
David Edelstein
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I first saw it when I was 14 and thought it was one of the worst pictures ever -- garish, oppressive, and appallingly overacted. Grown up, I'd go with those same adjectives, except now I think it's one of the best.

Full Review Source: Slate

April 6, 2007
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
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A sweaty thriller conundrum on character and corruption, justice and the law, worship and betrayal, it plays havoc with moral ambiguities.

Full Review Source: Time Out

June 24, 2006
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