Sunset Boulevard ★★★★½

Sunset Blvd. is without a doubt the best critique of the cinematic industry that will ever exist. Realised some twenty years after talkies came to take over the industry, Sunset Blvd. reflects upon the classical age of Hollywood and invites its aged protagonists to once more stand in the spotlights. And believe me, they shine as never before. There is so much to this incredibly clever picture. It plays as a twisted love story between the young b-movie writer Joe Gillis and the forgotten and aged Hollywood star Norma Desmond. The latter invites Joe to come live with her, as she blindly tries to cling to her younger years - through the young writer, she lives up and is even charming at times, as he is her only chance to retake her position in the spotlights.

Times have changed, though. Norma symbolizes the silent movie era, one were the space of visual images was at the centre, as she hints at: "There was a time when this business had the eyes of the whole wide world. But that wasn’t good enough. Oh, no! They wanted the ears of the world, too. So they opened their big mouths, and out came talk, talk, talk.." The talkies took over the industry and turned actresses like Norma into relics. The new period became characterized by hip screenwriters that were not in need of space, but had words as their main currency. Joe is born into this generation and doesn't seem particularly interested in the enormous space of Norma's mansion, or the silent movies that her butler projects once or twices a week. But if we come to think of it; what are words without images? What would Sunset Blvd. be without Norma's enormous mansion? Stars like Norma were thrown away by the new system that made the spoken word its capital. However, in retrospect, the visual arts have told their stories for centuries, and will for the centuries to come - we shouldn't forget our roots, and definitely shouldn't capitalize on new inventions by forgetting cinema's original power. There is a reason that the silent movie era is coined the golden era of Hollywood.

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