Rope - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rope Reviews

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½ April 20, 2017
The only thing I disliked was Nietzsche being misused (once again). However it was also the first time I've heard of him, so thanks for that (now that I've learned a little more about his philosophy). The dialogue and acting are gripping.
April 4, 2017
"Rope" is one of Hitchcock's more ambitious films. To this day, it remains as one of the most interesting experiments ever put in a film. The long takes edited together to make it look like a consecutive take was very interesting. I am an enormous fan of long takes, and I like seeing them in films. I expected that I'd really like this film for that reason. I was right!

After 2 young men named Brandon and Phillip strangle a classmate named David who they believe is inferior to them, they put his body in a wooden chest and have several of their friends over for a dinner party to test the perfection of their crime. They put the food on top of the chest and they use his grave as a centerpiece. As Brandon says hints about David's disappearance, one of the guests, Rupert, begins to suspect that something is up with them.

This film was shot to make it look like it was filmed in 1 consecutive take (minus the opening credits). Hitchcock wanted to film it in 1 take without any interruptions. However, he could only record 20 minutes at a time. To get around this issue, Hitchcock tried to hide the cuts. For example, the camera could zoom in on a jacket, stop and start recording again, and zoom out so it looks like the movement happened at the same time. Some of these cuts were noticeable and could've been hidden better, but most of them were hidden decently enough. Also, Hitchcock had a backdrop of a city in the window behind their room. Every time a cut happened, it would look like time was moving along in the film as the sky would slowly get darker, changing from evening to night. It wasn't until 2002 when "Russian Ark" became the first and, currently, the only film to be shot in 1 unbroken cut.

Suspense is a trademark of Hitchcock films. He's made many suspenseful scenes in the past which have worked very well. As the party guests continued to get more suspicious of Brandon and Phillip, tension kept on rising. There is a man who keeps on getting more suspicious and questions both of them. There is a woman who has to open the chest later in the night to put books into it. I'll argue that out of all of Hitchcock's films that I've seen, this is his most suspenseful film. There are large portions of the film dedicated to keeping the viewer on the edge of their seats. Also, there are some added touches to certain scenes. For example, the movie had a metronome ticking as one of the characters questions one of the perpetrators, causing him to feel increasingly uneasy. Also, one of the characters could be visualizing how he thinks the crime would've went down as the camera moves around the room, in accordance with his theory.

However, the long take actually helps the suspense factor. In order for the suspense to work, the viewer had to be positive that the chest remained in the room for the entire film. That way, the viewer would be certain that his body hadn't been moved out somehow during a jump in the time. The fact that the film looks like it's filmed in 1 take reassures the viewer that the body hasn't left the room. If a character tries to open the chest, the viewer feels a lot of tension, because they know for a fact what that character will find. Top this off with some very solid acting from John Dall (Brandon) and Farley Granger (Phillip), and you get some firm, well-done suspense.

The dialogue is one of the highlights of the film. One of the perpetrators, Brandon, continues to give hints about the crime throughout the discussion. When one of the characters asks if he's throwing the party because of a birthday, he says that it's the exact opposite, implying David's death. When the character he said it to gets confused, he says that it's a farewell party. At one point in the film, a character asked Brandon a question. Brandon paused for a few seconds before giving a normal answer. It's almost like he was trying to think of a hint to say. Also, there are other scenes such as when Joan, one of the party guests, says that she could strangle Brandon as an exaggeration. Also, there's the discussion when all of the party guests briefly discuss murder, and Brandon tells a story about Phillip choking a chicken. I picked up more hints from the dialogue on my 2nd viewing. I'm assuming that there's a few more lines of dialogue that I could pick up on if I watch it a 3rd time. The dialogue slightly contributes to the films' suspense as it's a factor in what causes Rupert and the other guests to become suspicious.

Since the film has a lot of suspense, the 80 minute runtime feels a lot more like a mere 40 minutes. As I started to approach the ending on my 2nd viewing, I felt like it was over too quickly. I would've liked to see more of it as it was engaging me from beginning to end. Also, since suspense is a main driving point of the film, a lot of it is gone after you watch it a 2nd time. However, this is present in all suspenseful movies. The first viewing is always the best one as I'm not sure how the film will end.

In conclusion, this was a very suspenseful film. From what I've read, Hitchcock apparently called this an "experiment which didn't work out". It may not be one of Hitchcock's best films, but it's a really good film at showing us Hitchcock's suspense at its finest. It accomplished a few things pretty well, and I'm glad that I watched it. It was a pretty good film.
March 11, 2017
Hitchcock always tries a new angle.
½ March 10, 2017
Enjoyed this very much. Very clever and has the feel of a play. Not his best, but definitely see it.
½ February 22, 2017
The way Rope is presented feels a lot like a stage play. Hitchcock tried to give the illusion of one continuous shot for the entire film, so it all takes place in one room and only involves a handful of people talking with one another for an hour and a half. I was concerned for some of that time that it was going to get boring, but most of the slow part is in the early scenes as people are arriving and being introduced.

Once the film gets rolling there is a palpable rising tension that permeates every conversation. Philip becomes more tense, Brandon becomes more careless, and Rupert becomes more suspicious. This elevates the dialogue in such a way that almost every word spoken has a double meaning. I love any scene in a film where people are saying one thing but you can sense they are actually talking about something else, and this movie is loaded with that stuff.

Of course the king of delivering these lines with depth and meaning is the great Jimmy Stewart. There are no words for how superb he is in Rope. I could not get enough of watching his mind work, and the way his tone would change based on his inner thoughts. John Dall and Farley Granger did a great job with their parts as the killers, but when Stewart goes to work I was simply in awe. I'll admit the rest of the cast I found largely forgettable, but in most of the scenes their characters are just pawns being manipulated by these 3 key players.

Then there is the genius of Hitchcock himself. While there were some odd choices made with the camera (I suspect most of those were ways of concealing cuts between takes) most of the time he knows perfectly what to show you and what to hide. There's one scene, and I think anyone who has seen this film will know which scene I'm referencing, where an entire conversation is going on off-camera. I barely heard a word of the conversation because Hitchcock keeps the camera fixated so that we feel every tension-filled second as it seems the murder is about to be discovered.

Rope is a film that made me feel thrills the way that few films can manage. My body was all tight and anxious, not because of explosive action or cheap jump scares, but simply because of a well-crafted story and good camerawork. I'll admit it did take me a little time to become fully invested in the story, but once I bought in I could not look away. I'm anxious to watch Rope again and see if it can affect me as well as it did this first time. If it is that effective on a re-watch, then my rating for it might go even higher. A truly superb masterpiece!
½ January 30, 2017
One of Alfred Hitchcock's most innovative and compelling thrillers, Rope deserves to be mentioned among the director's all-time best. The plot revolves around two young men who strangle their 'inferior' classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family over for a dinner party as a means to prove the perfection of their crime. Rope is essentially Hitchcock's attempt to bring stage and screen together, with the film consisting of one location and multiple long takes cleverly edited together to appear as one shot. While that basically makes the film one big technical experiment, Hitchcock pulls it off masterfully - with some truly brilliant camerawork, gripping performances, and suspense that starts building from the opening shot and doesn't let up for 80 minutes. Having the whole thing unfold in real time allows the audience to witness every second of manipulation the two murderers inflict upon their guests, and the cat and mouse game that follows. John Dall and Farley Granger are terrific as the two killers, with Dall as the manipulative and unpredictable sociopath, and Granger the nervous wreck who could crack at any moment. James Stewart (in his first Hitchcock role) plays the two men's college professor who suspects something is wrong and may have unwillingly set their murderous plot into action. Almost 70 years later and Rope remains a timeless classic that still grabs your complete attention from the opening frame, and will rightly be remembered as one of Hitchcock's best, and most daring, films.
½ January 22, 2017
80 minutes of pure thriller.
January 8, 2017
10 out of 10:

A smart thriller with terrific acting and directing.
½ January 1, 2017
A bold thriller with continuous suspense. I enjoyed how it seems to play out in real time. Everything is well-assembled by Alfred Hitchcock. (First and only full viewing - 10/14/2011)
September 10, 2016
Hitchcock's dialogue-heavy drama, "Rope," is darkly comical and well-written, but it's noticeably stagy and it lacks a satisfying and, more importantly, credible conclusion.
½ August 13, 2016
Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 experimental suspense thriller is extremely nerve-wracking, but the editing is extremely gimmicky.
August 7, 2016
The real star of this movie is the wonderfully written dialogue performed excellently by all concerned. Oddly, Jimmy Stewart is perhaps the weak link in the chain, possibly as he seems miscast here.

The experimental nature of the film makes it stand out and is the one movie from Mr. H that I I return to most.
July 27, 2016
A very engaging film with solid performances. However, Hitchcock wanted to make it look like Rope was shot in one take. This was essentially impossible to begin with so he had to make a cut every10- 15 minutes, however the way he try's to hide it is distracting and takes you out of the film. It would've been better if he just shot it and edited it standardly
July 2, 2016
The direction is perfect, Alfred tries to simulate a sequence plan is vizivel the scene cuts, but for his epoch is very good, the apartment is stifling the incredible performances, the tension could be better exploited, the script is simple and good, screen elements are beautiful, Rope is a film that has to be watched.
And it vizivel the influence of this film in the years 60/70.
½ June 2, 2016
Wasn't impressed. I usually love Hitchcock films.
May 21, 2016
James Stewart is exceptional.
May 5, 2016
Rope (1948) ??
Intriguing but ineffectual film which was entirely done in one shot, as camera constantly follows two college grads who murder someone, hide his body, and invite people over all in the same apartment just for the thrill of it. An irresistibly clever idea never quite takes flight and suffers from neurotic acting. Alfred Hitchcock zoomed into the back of someone's clothes to provide basis for easy editing.
½ May 1, 2016
A surprising (almost explicitly) homoerotic thriller from the master of suspense. Although the beginning arguably limits the tension of the rest of the film, Hitchcock still manages to convey thrills and black humor through a narrative that makes the most of its entire cast.
½ April 16, 2016
Quite good, not perfect, but 'not perfect' in the way that all theater kinda is by nature of how it is, if that makes any sense. So, it's fine. Jimmy Stewart steals the whole thing and it only really gets awesome when he finally shows up. But yeah, this is a good one. Good cock.
Super Reviewer
½ April 9, 2016
The long takes may be a remarkable stunt but those hidden cuts are in fact extremely distracting and obvious - and, contrary to popular belief, the film does have conventional, unmasked cuts. Even so, it benefits from tense moments and a well-written plot with great dialogue.
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