Sunset Boulevard ★★★★★

Sunset Boulevard is an absolute masterpiece on so many levels.

The character of Norma Desmond is one of the best and complex ever put to film. Her whole psyche and what she represents - an obsolete star deludedly clinging to her former glory - has always been stupendously fascinating. The design of her decrepit mansion is just so so evocative and well-crafted. That is all captured beautifully in stunning noirish black-and-white cinematography. And of course, the role is nothing without Gloria Swanson’s brilliant brilliant brilliant performance.

And most of all, the extraordinary writing! Every scene helps move the plot along briskly while always enriching some aspect of the film, whether it be the story, theme, characterisation, or atmosphere. This has one of the uses of voiceover that I’ve seen. I could listen to William Holden waxing poetic about Swanson or her mansion all day long.

Also, Wilder expertly delving into the whole idea of obsolescence through the lens of a Golden Age of Hollywood film about how that left the Silent Era and its stars in the dust? That is some king shit right there.

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