Bad Day At Black Rock (1955)

Since this is the third time seeing this movie in about a year, it's gotta be one of my all-time favorites now. I was reading a review of SLOW WEST that simply said "80 minutes, no bullshit," and immediately wanted to visit this again. Seems like it was made for me, in some strange way. It is also possible that as I've gotten older and more busy, that I prefer shorter films to longer ones, but when they contain a cast as good as this, I'm pretty sure that I would've been just as happy if this had been two hours. As it stands, I like how layered its themes are and how they slowly reveal themselves as the mystery unfolds.

It's almost as if Hitchcock made a Western, but the close quarters where the cast confronts themselves, almost suggests that this would work well as a play. The dialogue is beat for beat perfect, and even the violent outbursts are full of tension and exquisite timing. Any film that involves a stranger coming to town, becoming trapped, and learning that the world that surrounds him is not what it seems, immediately gets a thumbs up. Also it's 80 minutes, no bullshit. I would've loved to have seen a buddy cop movie that teamed up Brennan and Tracy. I have a sneaking suspicion that John Carpenter loves this movie and maybe Cronenberg saw this right before he filmed the diner scene in A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE.  A

James Laczkowski