Desperate - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Desperate Reviews

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August 9, 2016
Early film noir from Anthony Mann that contains some great moments (for example, a swinging overhead light that alternatingly reveals the bad guys and casts them into darkness) although the happy ending shakes off a bit too much of the desperation that a fully-fledged noir would leave intact. Typical of the genre, Mann places the innocent hero into a tough position, caught between the cops and the gang, and having to flee with his pregnant wife from both. En route to the conclusion, things get rather picaresque but Raymond Burr, the chief heavy, keeps coming and coming. It's not clear whether our hero did anything wrong (in needing to make money so badly) or whether it's just the fickle finger of fate that laid in wait for returning servicemen of all moral persuasions - but this guy doesn't deserve the things that happen to him. Mann would go on to make a few more, darker, noirs and then a string of really great dark westerns with a morally ambiguous Jimmy Stewart.
½ August 2, 2015
Flawed (particularly with some glaring plot holes), but solid little film noir from director Anthony Mann. Truck driver Steve Brodie is robbed by mobsters, led by a menacing Raymond Burr, and is forced to go on the run with his wife, Audrey Long. Solid little low budget noir.
March 25, 2015
very good noir pic from the first cycle of noirs
½ March 16, 2012
Still cheering after giving up over 45 before the 10 minute mark.
January 22, 2011
Economical Anthony Mann RKO noir; textbook bad guy from Raymond Burr chasing Wrong Man Steve Brodie and sweet wife Audrey Long. Shadowy, tense, suspenseful.
½ September 12, 2010
Great direction and cinematography, pretty good acting, but a mediocre script. Sadie really disliked this one, and she let me know while we were watching.
September 1, 2010
Meh. Ho-hum cat-and-mouse noir in which a truck driver gets imbroiled in a deadly heist and has to protect himself from the law, and his wife from the gangsters. The photography allows for some nice moments, but the plot is pretty formulaic. The real problems is that the lead actors Steve Brodie and Audrey Lane fail to inspire, they're too earnest and one-dimensional. Worthwhile for the cinematography, tense climax, and Raymond Burr. Otherwise kind of blah.
Super Reviewer
July 22, 2010
Desperate starts off as a hokey enough and paint-by-numbers film noir thriller about a good guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. The story's straightforward and frankly, its not exactly something you haven't seen before. But what makes Desperate a bit better is director Anthony Mann's direction and the way he takes a reasonably lukewarm story then builds and builds--right up to a fantastic stairway climax worthy of the Film Noir Hall of Fame. A must see for fans of Mann (especially when you see glimpses of what would later become some of the greatest westerns ever that he would later make), that final scene aside, not so much for fans of noir. Consider it a small part of a bigger potato chip at the bottom of the bag when you've already eaten all the greater ones--you don't necessarily regret taking it in but it won't be the one you remember the bag for...
½ July 22, 2010
Anthony Mann does a great job directing a tight script about a good guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. This could of been corny, but you believe every second of it, so it gets a recommend.
½ July 1, 2009
Mann's first real feature film to powerfully express his style in a few short but great scenes leading up to an effective, if contrived climax. Steve Brodie is a bland lead, but Raymond Burr makes a great villain and Jason Robards' dad is terrific as a disaffected police detective reminiscent of Jack Benny.
½ April 21, 2008
Excellent pacy film noir thriller with a good plot and script to match.
½ November 29, 2007
A pretty good noir by Mann with Raymond Burr making a chilling villain.
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