Ministry of Fear (1944)
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Set during the German bombing of London, this chilling film noir espionage thriller centers on mentally unstable Stephen Neale. Unjustly committed for euthanizing his terminally ill wife, Neale is thrust into a world madder than the one he experienced in the asylum after his release.
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Critic Reviews for Ministry of Fear
Fritz Lang, a master at getting the most out of mystery, intrigue and melodrama, in his direction apparently didn't have his way from beginning to end on Ministry of Fear.
This is a wonderfully atmospheric, almost expressionistic thriller, packed with memorable moments.
Plant yourself well in a firm seat and keep your over-coat on when you go to see this thriller, for it dumps you and douses you fast.
Fritz Lang turns this into a creepily effective work, full of bravura set pieces and subtle suggestions.
Uncertainty and fear of the unknown are the hallmarks of this classic film noir by master director Lang, which, until the last revelation, is guaranteed to puzzle and chill the viewer.
Adept at using cinema for art and entertainment since his early career, Lang treats this Graham Greene "entertainment" in modest, yet effective fashion.
This is not Lang's best film of the era, or even his most interesting portrait of paranoia and malevolent forces, but it is a lively thriller with unexpected turns.
The film as a whole doesn't really stick with you, but isolated moments and images do
It's not top-shelf Fritz Lang, nor is it top-level Graham Greene, but as an exercise in World War II intrigue with a smidgen of film noir thrown in, Ministry of Fear gets the job done.
It's certainly fitting that after filling his German years with ballsy, predictive masterpieces about Nazi rule-by-fear, Fritz Lang would finally make a film that directly involves Nazis.
On paper Lang was the ideal Greene director, but he's let down a mite by a screenplay which fails to do justice to the writer's favourite entertainment.
Really good Fritz Lang noir that's never gotten its due
Audience Reviews for Ministry of Fear
Ministry of Fear is easily one of Fritz Lang's high points of the 1940s. He does a great job capturing WWII London with a dreadful mood. The chase scene in the beginning as well as the seance scene is worth it alone. The cast is good, but the set design is superb and if my senses aren't failing me I'd say that Ministry of Fear is a precursor to North By Northwest. Overall, the setup is good, the middle dwindles a bit and the last few minutes are kind of weak (with a slightly embarrassing ending) but if you can get your hands on a copy of this movie it's worth the time.More
I don't really care that the story is ridiculous, Lang directed the film beautifully (Is there any other director who used contrasting shadow and light so well?) and I like that its a WWII propaganda film, that doesn't really feel like a propaganda film . . . probably because the "heroes" and "villains" are less clearly defined than most stuff from that era.More
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