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A man seeks revenge but will he destroy himself in the process? After a long jail term for a crime he did not commit, a man is torn between revenge (which will probably destroy him) or making a new life for himself. Written by
Superb British revenge thriller, a noir with a message
This is a highly superior British film directed by Robert Hamer. All of the cast give splendid performances, and there are some truly wonderful character roles, the best such performance coming from John Slater, who is amazingly bizarre and original. The film features a man let out of prison after twelve years for a murder he did not commit, and his search for the people who gave false witness and put him there. John Mills delivers one of his first rate performances as a grimly determined, sombre and brooding man who is obsessed with the injustice done to him. With him at the centre of the story, the entire film then becomes wholly convincing. There are some wonderful location shots, and the row of abandoned barges rotting in the mudflats of the Thames Estuary is an eerie main setting for much of the action. Elizabeth Sellars is particularly effective in making this film work. She plays a despicable coward, whose cowardice runs so deep it effects every aspect of her existence. In order to portray something as profound as this, it was essential that she do so with understatement and restraint, occasionally veering near to immobility as the fear freezes her up inside. The fact that Elizabeth Sellars does this successfully and never gives way to the temptation to overact or settle a scene with some easy broad stroke is a tribute to her professionalism. Eva Bergh is a bit too young and pretty for her part as the Eastern European refugee girl, but that is the only slightly false note. Thora Hird is marvellous, as always. John McCallum underplays his police inspector-married-to-a-dodgy witness role very satisfactorily. The story culminates in the main characters having to face moral choices, so that this powerful, gripping and effective thriller is not only well made, but has a worthy purpose.
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