Monday, July 26, 2010

High Sierra. A-

I didn't like his haircut, but Humphrey Bogart's star making turn in High Sierra is clearly indicative of why he became such a big star. Bogart plays a multi-faceted gangster, a guy who's just been released from prison and is preparing for his next job: robbing a wealthy resort in California. What I liked about the film, and what I like about Bogart in general, is that he's playing a criminal with a good side, made clear by his determination to help out a struggling family from the east. When Bogart's playing a good character he usually infuses rough traits, and when he's playing a villain, he always displays virtues most often found in the role of the hero (though there are some exceptions, i.e The Petrified Forest). High Sierra might have been better if the plot had been a little more complex, but overall the movie is sharp and hard to really complain over. One aspect I especially liked was the setting of the film in the California mountains. The vast peaks can often be seen in the background, and actually play an important part in the memorable climax of the picture. While High Sierra isn't quite comparable to Bogart's finest work, or the classic gangster movies that followed, it's still an exciting old school heist flick that will surely please both Bogart fans and lovers of the genre.

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