This is a really well made and very well acted thriller with a legal basis. Some might say it's contrived, but no, it's very contextual with differences. A fiction thriller is a fiction thriller, and this has everything going for it (including the odd bit of nice, 80s movie style jazz fusion L. A. musical soundtrack).
"Defenseless" never tries to be more than a very good, classic kind of film in the genre, if perhaps appearing as much on the made-for-TV side as a cinematic movie. Saying it is contextual doesn't mean that the film is predictable - far from it, although that's situated around a bit of a convoluted plot focus. In the end it makes for a really fresh, enjoyable, engaging thriller which isn't high octane but gripping naturally without sensationalism. Very compelling. Directing, production, editing and acting all conspiring so well to keep you guessing until it's all done.
Another mention for the acting, really first class, you seldom get them like this anymore. That's especially in this kind of movie, in movies which are lower rung in aspirations than the bigger Hollywood fish which aim for the sky.
Watch it, relax, a lot of talent went into this film.
Very well played, produced, filmed. Excellent pacing and editing from a well thought out screenplay. This is just of an era of involving, serious, more down to earth film of the true or 'inspired-by-true' mould before what can be some more emotional, sometimes more sensationalist 1980s and 1990s versions. Ah, the sensible and serious yet not overly so 70s, how we ought to miss them. The characterisation is also excellent, within the familiar and fairly simple confines of a TV movie format. How things have changed, though. There's nothing flimsy or frivolous about this film, while neither does it go too much into more challenging territory. It signals to (rather than asks overtly) a few of the undying, basic necessary questions which never go away and which perhaps many of our more short-sighted, escapist, shallow or frightened age pretend have gone away or could never be there. Every scene is relevant and strangely for our modern mass media staled minds not too far from intense, still somehow within its own reasonably plain, everyday life format. These kinds of themes can feel excluding to some people, but I think the fine acting carries everything through, keeping interest easily.
Looks great but is a confused, less than shallow film.
They had great cameras in those days, and from this comes the best points
about this film - the cameras and how they were used. Very atmospheric,
the cinematography is very well done and the visual editing very good.
It's possibly better today at home in its excellent transfer to
digital. (I rented the streaming film in SD, which was great quality on
a computer monitor which is not large.)
For me, though, that's nearly as far as it goes. The acting has a lot
to commend it at times, and Cary Grant pulls off well what is very
demanding - trying to tie the script's lack of conviction and film
genre identity together.
North by Northwest must be the most contrived of all spy films.
It also fails as a typical Hitchcock entertainment piece, I think
because the subject is always on the verge of real seriousness. But the
film can never devote itself to such seriousness in the way that
classic spy films do and in the way these subjects really deserve
Too far away from Sunday apple pie movie land to be endearing, too
bitty, flimsy, theatrical and unsatisfying to be effective in basic thriller terms, and too unserious and kid glove hewn to be worth its salt amongst the lexicon of classic spy films.
North by Northwest was a probably an impressive showpiece for
cinematography and the potential of atmosphere and brilliance in the
track from camera to cinema screen. But, like a beautiful damsel agent
who flirts but is getting paid for her rehearsed attempts to win you,
the film has little else of merit beyond its looks and moves.
A very good film, perhaps not an easy watch, but the ambition runs much higher than that. The film is actually most satisfactory in its simple intelligence. which includes that it knows it limits in what it can say, or how it can say it, in kind of "polite company". (Meaning any kind of modern culture, I suppose).
Actually, I realise, in the end this is indeed a very good film, and surprisingly memorable beyond the dark, mainly urban backdrop which one believes one will never remember visually. That in itself is a great device, for what one does or can identify or recall from this film are the brief pointer elements, or hints of social meaning.
Hypnotherapy, psychology, hypnosis outside of hypnotherapy. The film quietly whispers upon the viewer, perhaps during the film but perhaps afterwards also, that methods of producing results might be there to be used by whoever desires their own results, in very varied ways.