Rope (1948) – [rate 4.5]
What never ceases to amaze me about Hitchcock pictures is that they seem so modern. Rope is no exception. The acting, the camera work, the dialogue all seem well beyond 1948 – though not quite 2008 of course. It’s an amazing feat of cinematography, shooting a psychological thriller in only 5 shots (did I miss any cuts?) with clever transitions. Rope follows all three Artistotelian unities: it takes place in a single appartment, sometimes even shooting other rooms from within the main living room. It takes place in the timespan of a single afternoon and evening. And it just deals with the murder that the movie starts with.
This movie is a real treat for anyone who appreciates film as an art form and it shows that – even in a setting which may have you thinking “this would work as a play” – the camera allows for so much more than a real life stage. Nevermind special effects, exotic locations and space. Even on the stage, the movie director has a power over the perspective of the viewer that’s unrivaled by that of a play director, while allowing the players on stage all the same power to express themselves. Not to say that I do not appreciate theatre, but Rope shows the contrast very nicely.
The dialogue is thrilling and the outcome uncertain. The themes are modern and the story compelling. The only reason this movie doesn’t get a 5/5 is that I don’t really buy the motivation of the main character, which ultimately feels forced. Also, the peer pressure excerted on the main supporting character isn’t as clear as it could have been, but then there’s always something to complain about, isn’t there.
Highly recommended viewing.