A great film noir style thriller that is by no means glamorous. A wounded IRA gunman's encounters with the everyday folk of Post-War Belfast adds social realism to the screenplay yet there remains little for James Mason & Robert Newton to display their stagecraft with in the
script. The movie includes some fine, surreal hallucinatory
cinematographic effects which help to convey Johnny's( the Odd Man Out)state of mind.
For instance there is a moment in a booth of the Pub
when Johnny awakens and spills his ale. The camera shot shows Johnny's POV looking at the liquid and the bubbles in the froth on the wooden table. Reed uses this as a chance to enlighten the viewer to Johnny's state of mind. Within each bubble is a memory. These memories are zoomed in on and a scene in his recent past is enacted. The cumulative effect of the larger bubbles of froth repititiously evoking Johnny's
latest memories Mason(the OMO) to shout out in anguish, silencing the bar and alerting all & sundry to his whereabouts.
This is not Carol Reed's finest work("The Third Man" or "Night Train to Munich" are more likely contenders) but a true to life drama very well told.
Dark in tone and realistic situations this film is saved by Michael Caine's performance.Well made yet sparse and ponderous. However it is sad, violent, and filled with no-hopers. There is nothing unique in this film and it is very predictable. My sister & I took our folks to this as it had Caine in it. I liked it better than them by far. One critic pointed out a positive; the movie is largely about knife/gun wielding youth gangs who will do most anything for their next rock or fix and does show the powerlessness of the majority (including police) to remedy the situation.