“It’s not hard to die a good death. What’s hard is to live a good life.”
An easily accessible noir, Where the Sidewalk Ends is a simple detective story, but outstanding performances and understated use of mood and lighting create a realistic and lived-in noirscape. Low-key lighting is used to muted effect. Instead of having high contrast chiaroscuro to emphasize fear and suspense, the cinematography opts for greyish landscapes that softens blacks to somber effect, representing the grey moralities that echo throughout the film. The performances are naturalistic and technical, boosted by an articulate screenplay of elegantly filtered dialogue…
There’s a deliberate pulpiness present in De Palma films that revel in the lurid sensation found in pulp fiction yet he uses his pastiched auteurism to elevate his films through stylish self-awareness.
De Palma uses his gritty grandiosity to criticize the grotesque such as in Body Double (1984) revealing the seediness of the sex industry surrounding show business, the film itself reflecting the obscured lines of actor/actress and sex work present in Hollywood. Through this contrast De Palma is able to exalt…
I lost track of time while watching this film. I also started watching around two am which stressed its surreality. The film earns its stripes purely from spectacle alone every shot purposefully and beautifully taken. But it’s the apathetic atmosphere that makes 2001 masterful, the isolating and emotionless monotony mimicking the soullessness of space.