Sunday, August 4, 2013
You Only Live Once. B+
You Only Live Once is an incredibly dark crime romance. It was Fritz Lang's second feature after coming to America, and it stars a young Henry Fonda in a searing, intense role. He plays a former criminal just out of prison and madly in love with a girl named Joan, played by Sylvia Sidney. The movie doesn't let up from there. And not to spoil anything, let's just say Fonda just cannot catch a break even as he tries to reform his ways. Lang packs a lot of material into this 85 minute picture, but because he's very economical about the presentation, it never feels like it's too full. Fonda is great, playing an uncharacteristically furious human being with little self-control. Lang had to compromise with his first American feature, Fury, by giving it a neat and tidy ending. Here he seems to get his way though; the movie only gets bleaker as it goes along, and its ending is essentially a total downer.