Touch of Evil Reviews

  • Nov 06, 2020

    Takes all the raw power of the Bogart-era classic noir and refines it into something far more grand, with a story that is less clunky but more thrilling, characters that feel gripping (dialing up the sleaze), and sexy cinematography that puts the film's predecessors in the genre to shame. You liked Dutch angles in The Third Man? Well buddy this film has got more Dutch angles than the damn Netherlands. Welles proves he still has it on both sides of the camera, framing beautiful shots and creating a thick and heavy atmosphere while portraying the complex detective (who started out with good intentions but who has subsequently fallen to framing the innocent) with a wonderfully inebriated and bulldog performance that might just be Welles' real personality at this point in his life. This is a film you can watch on repeat and find something new to appreciate each time; the tracking shots are absolutely great, and the film doesn't require massive, detailed setpieces to convey its narrative (especially given that most of the film takes place at night). (5/5)

    Takes all the raw power of the Bogart-era classic noir and refines it into something far more grand, with a story that is less clunky but more thrilling, characters that feel gripping (dialing up the sleaze), and sexy cinematography that puts the film's predecessors in the genre to shame. You liked Dutch angles in The Third Man? Well buddy this film has got more Dutch angles than the damn Netherlands. Welles proves he still has it on both sides of the camera, framing beautiful shots and creating a thick and heavy atmosphere while portraying the complex detective (who started out with good intentions but who has subsequently fallen to framing the innocent) with a wonderfully inebriated and bulldog performance that might just be Welles' real personality at this point in his life. This is a film you can watch on repeat and find something new to appreciate each time; the tracking shots are absolutely great, and the film doesn't require massive, detailed setpieces to convey its narrative (especially given that most of the film takes place at night). (5/5)

  • Oct 29, 2020

    God awful, and extremely racist. Was this really the kind of thing people enjoyed in the 50's?

    God awful, and extremely racist. Was this really the kind of thing people enjoyed in the 50's?

  • Oct 13, 2020

    Just another noir to me. I liked the Mexican soundtrack. Maybe it was groundbreaking at the time but now it plays out like a generic corrupt cop v good cop movie. None of the acting is all that impressive. Forgettable.

    Just another noir to me. I liked the Mexican soundtrack. Maybe it was groundbreaking at the time but now it plays out like a generic corrupt cop v good cop movie. None of the acting is all that impressive. Forgettable.

  • Aug 31, 2020

    This is vastly overrated. It is a mess from beginning to end. Slow, dull, and implausible. What intelligent man would ever leave his honeymooned wife in the clutches of these criminals and misfits. It took a lot of forbearance to watch this dim-witted film to the end. Only Marlene Dietrich was worth watching.

    This is vastly overrated. It is a mess from beginning to end. Slow, dull, and implausible. What intelligent man would ever leave his honeymooned wife in the clutches of these criminals and misfits. It took a lot of forbearance to watch this dim-witted film to the end. Only Marlene Dietrich was worth watching.

  • Mar 13, 2020

    Capolavoro, già all'inizio lo capiamo con il piano sequenza famosissimo. Orson Welles colpisce con la sua narrazione del tutto perfetta. Uno dei film più importanti sia profondamente che visivamente. Una profonda riflessione sull'anima umano.

    Capolavoro, già all'inizio lo capiamo con il piano sequenza famosissimo. Orson Welles colpisce con la sua narrazione del tutto perfetta. Uno dei film più importanti sia profondamente che visivamente. Una profonda riflessione sull'anima umano.

  • Feb 18, 2020

    As with all Film Noir, the enjoyment of it comes from the understanding of it; the understanding the desperation and darkness and twisting manipulation inside of all men and all femmes, fatale or otherwise. Understanding the pull of power, the sway of ambition and the draw of money. The enjoyment intensifies with an understanding of the period they were made; the influences and politics of the time and where the film sits in the director's or the source author's oeuvre. And so all of this leads to my enjoyment and appreciation of the noirs of the past increasing with each watch. The effective simplicity of a bomb planted in one country that explodes in another is brilliant, something echoed in modern neo-noir TV, and a great catalyst to see these two worlds smashed together. And Mancini's music drumming along like the ticking of the bomb in a more esoteric and musical way than Zimmer's use of a literal ticking clock in Dunkirk. The dialogue is layered and complex and exposition and politics plays amidst action, not unlike modern cinema, and so unlike a lot of film noirs, the film requires you to actually pay attention to the dialogue to get more out of characters that aren't paper-thin and don't have only single-minded goals. There's the use of sumptuous night shooting and outdoor location work and an unrecognisable Wells plays a tragic, disgusting bigot in a self-sabotaging downward spiral that's typically toe-curling to watch. So, not being, shall we say, equipped, to satisfactorily enjoy Touch of Evil upon the first few viewings, this time I was fully taken by it. Before, I couldn't understand why it got so much critical acclaim, but in a way it takes a pulpy, noir b-movie premise and loads it with character depth, and racial politics worth talking about, all overseen with a directorial bravado that in a lot of ways, at the close of the 1950's, almost brings a full-stop to the end of Film Noir itself. Given the current state of racial politics and The Americas, the unflinching attitudes towards terrorists, surveillance, the attraction to true crime, the sinister and unsettling tone and plot is dying for an HBO/David Simon TV remake, something that transposes the timeless elements to the modern day. Something duly reverential and appropriate.

    As with all Film Noir, the enjoyment of it comes from the understanding of it; the understanding the desperation and darkness and twisting manipulation inside of all men and all femmes, fatale or otherwise. Understanding the pull of power, the sway of ambition and the draw of money. The enjoyment intensifies with an understanding of the period they were made; the influences and politics of the time and where the film sits in the director's or the source author's oeuvre. And so all of this leads to my enjoyment and appreciation of the noirs of the past increasing with each watch. The effective simplicity of a bomb planted in one country that explodes in another is brilliant, something echoed in modern neo-noir TV, and a great catalyst to see these two worlds smashed together. And Mancini's music drumming along like the ticking of the bomb in a more esoteric and musical way than Zimmer's use of a literal ticking clock in Dunkirk. The dialogue is layered and complex and exposition and politics plays amidst action, not unlike modern cinema, and so unlike a lot of film noirs, the film requires you to actually pay attention to the dialogue to get more out of characters that aren't paper-thin and don't have only single-minded goals. There's the use of sumptuous night shooting and outdoor location work and an unrecognisable Wells plays a tragic, disgusting bigot in a self-sabotaging downward spiral that's typically toe-curling to watch. So, not being, shall we say, equipped, to satisfactorily enjoy Touch of Evil upon the first few viewings, this time I was fully taken by it. Before, I couldn't understand why it got so much critical acclaim, but in a way it takes a pulpy, noir b-movie premise and loads it with character depth, and racial politics worth talking about, all overseen with a directorial bravado that in a lot of ways, at the close of the 1950's, almost brings a full-stop to the end of Film Noir itself. Given the current state of racial politics and The Americas, the unflinching attitudes towards terrorists, surveillance, the attraction to true crime, the sinister and unsettling tone and plot is dying for an HBO/David Simon TV remake, something that transposes the timeless elements to the modern day. Something duly reverential and appropriate.

  • Feb 14, 2020

    Citizen "Cane" (pun intended) might only have been one of the best director of his time, but as a actor he really shined. He shines very bright in this entertaining noir thriller, packed not only with a lot of twists, but also with some powerful questions about morality.

    Citizen "Cane" (pun intended) might only have been one of the best director of his time, but as a actor he really shined. He shines very bright in this entertaining noir thriller, packed not only with a lot of twists, but also with some powerful questions about morality.

  • Nov 12, 2019

    Orson Welles en estado puro.

    Orson Welles en estado puro.

  • Holly
    Nov 02, 2019

    The movie was amazing. I love the Esquire Theater and I really enjoyed the overall experience of watching the movie and talking about it afterwards with a Theater/Movie Teacher from UC.

    The movie was amazing. I love the Esquire Theater and I really enjoyed the overall experience of watching the movie and talking about it afterwards with a Theater/Movie Teacher from UC.

  • Oct 09, 2019

    Probably the most overrated film I've seen. It's not a masterpiece, it's not even a particularly good example of the genre. The plot is confusing and difficult to follow, the acting is over-the-top and the characters unbelievable. The plaudits are solely due to Orson Welles' involvement. His performances steal the scene but as a directorial effort it's well below the quality of his other films. Do not recommend it, you're missing nothing.

    Probably the most overrated film I've seen. It's not a masterpiece, it's not even a particularly good example of the genre. The plot is confusing and difficult to follow, the acting is over-the-top and the characters unbelievable. The plaudits are solely due to Orson Welles' involvement. His performances steal the scene but as a directorial effort it's well below the quality of his other films. Do not recommend it, you're missing nothing.