Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
It works as an artifact of its time, but fails as a compelling movie.
Almost everything in this whodunit, aside from a glowing McGuffin and a few bits of meta-commentary on its pursuit, was clumsily done.
The lead, Mike Hammer, was a lumbering dullard whom we were lead to believe possessed a roguish appeal to everyone he encountered. It was insultingly implausible. He made Arnie's Terminator look soulful and charming. While his love interest may have been the movie's most stirring character, she didn't have much competition, and she also suffered from bad makeup that made her face look distractingly oily in most scenes. The worst was that his friends and acquaintances consisted mainly of insulting caricatures of foreigners who mysteriously found Hammer's mere block-headed presence an irresistible opportunity to produce a joyful gibberish of mangled English and eye-gougingly bad catchphrases. One was so bad I laughed when he died.
There were some dizzying first-person perspective shots from the front seat of a convertible that were passably cool, and a genuinely scary one featuring a pair of naked legs. Another laudable, though still clumsy, aspect was its mid-1950s attempt to show a white man living at ease in a racially-integrated milieu.
If there's anything now, though, to justify sitting through the movie's full 110 minutes, it's that the movie presents a list of evidence for the audience to weigh the merits of the Space Age's fantasies along with its attendant nightmares. Hammer's gadget-stocked bachelor pad and his sporty cars evidently stood in as heaven, reason enough for putting one foot in front of the other through the insensate, alcohol-fueled haze he lived in, while damnation was an ever-present risk of finding oneself burnt or burning in the flames created by an incomprehensible and alienating technology as it produced the set pieces of the aforementioned heaven.
Given that today's fears consist not only of those deadly kisses offered by science but also the deadly copulation between an unresponsive and intrusive government and runaway corporate greed, the movie only partly works as a clue in our on-going whodunit as to how we got here. There's no shortage of hotter trails to follow, however, none of which include this unappealing cast of characters or the dull, spam-like visage of Mike Hammer.