Sunset Boulevard ★★★★½

I'd never watched Wilder until this year, but by now what's apparent is that at his best, his movies just don't actually seem that old, down to the timely themes, the direction, and here especially the acting, they never seem dated. Holden and Gloria Swanson play two sides of the celebrity coin, a groveling never-will-be sucked into the orbit of a wealthy but idle has-been, her sprawling mansion (awesome set design) something like a house of mirrors, warping the lead characters' grasps on reality in search of fame or status. Like his other films I've seen it's occasionally funny and occasionally thrilling, but largely thanks to Swanson's outstanding performance, a former silent film star who's a lunatic but a pitiable one, more than anything this struck me as the saddest Wilder I've seen.

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