I recently wrote a bucket list of things I want to do before I turn 30. I was able to cross one thing off already- making a ridiculously long list. Anyway, another item is watching all of IMDb top 250 films, I have probably only seen 1/4 of them. The reasoning behind this item is that I do not watch any films, other than ones we watch in class at film school. Somewhere along the way I lost my will to watch films for pleasure because the last time I went to the cinema was May of 2013… I know! As a teenager, you could find me at my local cinema almost every weekend (shout out to Maikino, the only cinema I know that was colder in winter than spending two hours just sitting on a park bench). Either way, let us see how far I can take this.
Kicking of at 250 is “Rope“, Hitchcock’s 1948 thriller. It stars 2 platonic male roommates who just have not found the right women yet, with serious superiority complexes, who in the first minute of the film strangle their mutual friend. The whole film is played out on one set, a huge living room where the two, following the murder, stuff the body into an old chest and serve food from it at a party for the friends and family of the freshly deceased. That is the basic outline, if you want to know more about the plot, check out IMDb.
The film is interesting from a technical point of view, it features very long mostly continuous shots of almost 10 minutes, the maximum length at that time. This gives the whole thing a vibe like you are in a theater watching a play or even a live version of a TV episode. It is fairly short at about 78 minutes and is supposed to play out in real time.
I read somewhere that the murder was not going to be in the film with everyone and the audience left guessing if they had really done it. I think that would have made the film better.
Right in the beginning, I was hit over the head with one odd feature, everything was so quiet. I found it difficult to concentrate on watching people pause or walking back and forth with no cuts or music. I am part of the MTV generation and used to entertainment being loud and fast and it took me about half an hour to get used to this style but if you are not patient, it is not a film for you!
The two male leads have a (strongly implied) homosexual bond, which is cool now but I did not know it was cool in 1948. Also, Janet, the girlfriend of the dead guy is sassy as hell, I loved it. Not obnoxious or a damsel in distress but, dare I say it, almost a modern woman even for a viewer in 2015.
The last 20 minutes of the film are gold. If you get this far then keep going, a great Jimmy Stewart-esque cinematic orgasm awaits. Honestly, that man can sit in the background and say so much just by looking at people, the everyman with the bad wig and the charisma of a lead actor.
Verdict: watch it if you are in the mood for a slow burner and nothing is happening on Facebook, it is good and gets better towards the end.
I do not own any of the pictures in this post.