Monday, July 19, 2010

25. The Big Sleep (1946)


My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains! You know, you're the second guy I've met today that seems to think a gat in the hand means the world by the tail.

Every once in a while, I'll tell someone that I didn't like a movie and they will respond: "You've got to watch it again." This usually implies that I must have "missed" something. Most of the time, this statement is pure rubbish (and I usually "got it" I just thought it sucked). An example of this would be Cronenberg's "A History of Violence". My problem with needing to rewatch the film to "get it" is that I did not enjoy the experience the first time. Still, every once in a while a movie comes along that is so puzzling and enthralling at the same time that rewatches are both a necessity and a joy. An example of this would be "Pulp Fiction" or "The Big Lebowski". Both fun movies that really require multiple viewings to truly experience.

"The Big Sleep" is the grandaddy of these intricate and thoroughly enjoyable puzzle-movies. The Coen brothers even admit that it is the main inspiration for "The Big Lebowski" (right down to the title). The movie itself is almost impossible to describe except to say that Humphrey Bogart returns to the private eye gig with a vengeance and solves mystery after mystery while playing off of two of Hollywood's finest leading ladies. There are even a few riddles that are left unsolved in the movie. When the screenwriter was asked who killed a certain character, he replied that even he didn't know...

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