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memento_mori's Movie Reviews (203)

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Vertigo (1958) 
Fragments of a mirror.
4/4 stars

There are very few Hitchcock films that I love, although I do like the Hitchcockian style. A blend of mystery, noir and romance, usually topped off with great performances and a surprising ending.
I still think his masterpiece is Psycho, but Vertigo would definitely come in close to number one on a scale of all of his films ranked (that I've seen).

The way the first two acts are put together impress me so much. It starts and you think it's going to be an ordinary thriller, but then it continues and hits you right where you don't expect it to.
I think the title Vertigo has another meaning. It's not only the main character's flaw, but it is also a comment about the film itself. It is constructed in such a way that all of a sudden you don't know what's going on and are plunged into the depths of where this mysterious movie will take you. A bit like the condition Vertigo.
Jimmy Stewart is Jimmy Stewart again. He has excellent on-screen charisma and adds a lot to his character and the movie with his authentic acting.
The direction is fabulous as always. You can't go wrong with a crisp, wide image shot by Hitchcock himself.
A lot of people consider Rear Window to be his best 'suspense' movie. I prefer this, because Vertigo has something that Rear Window doesn't. The ambiguity. In Rear Window, you were just tempted to find out what happened to the characters. You knew the scenario. But Vertigo is a clusterfu*k. You have no idea what is going to happen and are simply going along with the ride, a lot like our main character, who has no idea either.
the dialogue is also brilliant. It's enchanting, almost like it is trying to trick you into believing something.
I love the way the relationship between Scottie and Madeleine turned out. Their dialogue, romance and overall chemistry is developed so delicately, with so many impressive scenes guiding it and culminating in certain scenes with a tremendous musical score.
There are so many moments of shock lurking in every scene, only occasionally deciding to come out to scare the hell out of you. The way this is done suggests anything could happen, and when you can solidify that in your film, you have solidified yourself as a great storyteller.

The twist of this film is also magnificent. I was blown off of my feet when I found out what really happened, and what decisions the characters made after the twist. It's just so brilliantly planned out.

Too bad nothing good followed the twist, because the last thirty minutes and ending of this film are completely disappointing. It completely changes into a poor melodrama and that didn't suit the great tone of the movie. It turned into more of a romance than a mystery thriller and felt like all the mystery was gone and behind us, in the first half of the film. Even the relationship started to die on me, it was more creepy than romantic.

But for that one flaw, this movie has some great virtues. It's a cloudy haze, and you don't know what to expect, so it pulls you in that way.
They call this director the master of suspense for a reason, because it is polished to perfection with the great tools of acting, direction and cinematography, score, dialogue and the overall setting and atmosphere.


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