Touch of Evil

touchofevilNo, I’m not breaking new ground writing about the modern cinema canon. But darn it, I haven’t seen these movies, and now I am, so I’m writing about them. And maybe you haven’t seen them either! And maybe you should! (or maybe you shouldn’t! Read the review to find out!).

This is part of a the Shame List Challenge: for details, follow this here link.

Name: Touch of Evil
Year of Release: 1958
Basic blurb: Film noir, Orson Welles, something about American-Mexican relations (not really), Charlton Heston in brown face.

Is there anything of note about the characters?
Well there is that thing where Charlton Heston, inexplicably, is Mexican. He’s in brown face and speaks some Spanish, but is, otherwise, just Charlton Heston. It’s the most baffling and strangely engaging thing.

Also, I hadn’t ever seen Orson Welles in anything before (or direct anything before, but we’ll get to that), and woe, dude can act. I really liked him (or, rather, how we’re not supposed to like him, and don’t).

Is there anything of note about the plot?
Nope, except that thing, again, about Charlton Heston and his country, which is Mexico, because he’s Mexican.

Is there anything else that needs a particular comment?
OMG, I get it now. I get it. There’s all this stuff about Orson Welles as a director and how groundbreaking Citizen Kane was and all this (I still haven’t seen it, shut up), but holy crap, I was dazzled by this movie. I’m actually really glad I hadn’t watched it until now because I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much until I saw enough other movies first. But holy jesus, that man knows how to wield a camera. This is one of the first times I’ve ever applied the term “bravura shot” on my own, because the opening sequence is one unbroken take that swirls in and around this street and we follow a car and then some people and then the car comes back and it kind of weaves in and out and you’re so aware of what you’re seeing and the camera swoops along and it’s awesome. The whole movie ends up like that (only, you know, with more cuts). The camera is in motion so much of the time and it’s so freaking engaging.

Does this movie pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?
Uh… no. There are two women in the entire movie and they never appear in the same scene.

Who is this movie appropriate for?
Film noir people, I guess? Movie people, really. Cause dude, that camera.

Is this movie worth watching?
Absolutely. Completely, 100% recommended. Fascinating for many reasons and very engaging to watch.


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