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MovieMeditation presents...
total movie count ........... current day count
228 .......................... 248


July 21st

—— 1949 ——

—— noir ——

When it comes down to those modern day masterpieces or highly acclaimed classics, you are either going to be that first man who praises the film; that second man who despises the film; or you can be the third man, who are left standing between two different opinions, not knowing quite what to make of it… I'm that third man.

When this film ended, I was in a very confused state of mind, where my thought and feelings where split between appreciation, admiration and perhaps even dedication during the time of my viewing of it. It is one of those films where I feel like there is something more to it that I could be missing, but at the same time that feeling wasn’t as strong as it sometimes is. When those closing credits appeared on screen, I didn’t feel much, but I speculated an awful lot. Because during the film, I constantly felt like the movie was either trying to con me with the story or convince me otherwise with the setting. I think the overall look and feel of the feature was rather impressive, depicting a faded façade of a closed-in city at loss with itself – hiding in darkness, while keeping suspicious secrets secret. It feels almost like a hypnotic black and white noir picture, absorbed in deep shadows, dutch angles and daring attempts at being audibly and visually different. On the outside of it all, this could very well be the most perfect blend between a classic noir created in the traditional sense, but combined with lively originality, which gives the movie just the right kind of wrong. But there is just one problem… I have yet to be convinced by it.

I always aim to experience films at least twice, though only if I either enjoyed them or saw some potential in them. There was indeed something about ‘The Third Man’ that had my attention and I doubt it is held that highly for no reason whatsoever. Well, it did appear to be a revolutionary piece of filmmaking and it was different and daring from the usual stuff, but I thought the story was a mess and it took a while for the film to gain my interest. I will not start speaking gibberish about a film I didn’t grasp to the fullest, neither will I sit here and act like I did. I have to investigate further to get my head around this case, but whether or not my opinion will be the same by the end of it, I don’t know. After all I did actually like the feel of it, but I wasn’t too impressed with the conceal of it. It had plenty of potential but ended up flushing most of it down the drain. But that I’m actually quite thankful for, since the best thing about this film takes place in a sewer… no sh*t. All jokes aside though, I will get to that aspect a little later on.

As I talked about earlier, I think the film tries too hard to impress its audience with things we can’t even digest in the first place. It feels like a film that tries to be clever for the sake of cleverness alone, but I think it needs some substance or proper focus to do so. The cameras may be tilted, but we are in desperate need of a straight line down the story aspect of this film. It feels more like a meaningless mess than a masterful mystery and though there is things to like there isn’t much to learn, really. It is like the film purposely keeps us all in the dark for as long as possible, so the movie can make that one great reveal and make us all revel with joy. I just didn’t care much for anything that was happening until a certain someone showed up, which finally set the film in motion and awarded some meaning to the story. Everything ends in an extraordinary finale that definitely made the movie worth watching, almost upping the ante several miles despite taking place underground.

Overall I think this film needs another watch, because even though I can respect and admire it to some degree, I certainly wasn’t all too impressed with it. I thought the soundtrack was annoying at times and personally I don't see it fitting in with the film, though that may very well be the whole idea of it. I just became irritated in the end by it; how it kept circulating the same seconds of a melody over and over again. I thought the dubious dutch angles were too much and the shadows were almost symbolic for the structure and exposure of the story, since you are mostly left in the dark – standing on the outside looking in – and it just doesn't go anywhere that interesting for the first hour or so.

The conclusive chase is intense and extremely well shot and thankfully the soundtrack stays away and let the tension build out of pure atmosphere. it is kind of funny how the sewer where the chase takes place almost looks and feels like the town above. The director did capture a post-war atmosphere very well, with a great sense of isolation, callous darkness, open emptiness, packed nothingness and unsettling human connections. I look forward to watching it again and hopefully enjoy it a lot more.