Quick recap: Mike Hammer is a private eye, known for working divorce cases. One night while driving, he helps a young woman, Christina, escape from her nameless attackers. They eventually catch up to the two, making Hammer crash the car. When he finally wakes up, he is in the hospital and Christina is dead. Instead of letting things go, he decides to pursue who Christina was and who was out to get her.
Fun (?) fact: A federal unit whose job it was to investigate what corrupted youth in the 50’s, named this movie the number one menace to teens.
My thoughts: Psycho not living up to my expectations made me even less excited to enjoy this movie. I joke a lot about how easily audiences were influenced back then and maybe that’s why movies seem so tame, but then something like this comes along and changes my perception.I would argue Kiss Me Deadly has parts that are just as violent as what I’m used to seeing nowadays. It was refreshing to know that stuff like this existed, but it also made me wonder why people glorify directors like Hitchcock being the master of horror and thrillers. I’m beginning to think he might be a little overrated.
One of the aspects I loved about this movie was that no one was particularly a good person. Mike Hammer is the protagonist, which typically pegs him as the square, but he is far from it. For one thing, his job in divorce proceedings is to get as much dirt as he can on both partners and then screw them out of money. he is also heavily involved with his secretary, but doesn’t make it official and throughout the movie he has no issues making out with any woman who will have him. And he’s definitely not what the bad guys were expecting him to be. In an early scene, Hammer finds out that he is being followed by someone. Instead of running away, he fights the guy and then bashes his head against the wall repeatedly. Later on, while interrogating an old man, Hammer gleefully breaks a rare vinyl record that the man loves. It made me more intrigued with the mystery since I wasn’t invested in the characters as much.
The mystery itself was sub par. It was exciting to see the next clue and what would happen next, but I got confused several times trying to figure out what Hammer was looking for. Even now, I’m still not sure what Christina, the girl from the beginning of the movie, had to do with all of this. On the other hand, I don’t really care. There were so many twists that I gave up trying to keep up and just enjoyed what I was watching. With all of the action going on, I was reminded of my favorite television show, Lost. I won’t spoil anything, but as each season went by, I became more and more intrigued by the mystery. By the last few episodes, I realized that the reveal, whatever it was, wouldn’t satisfy me. And that’s precisely what happened here. When Hammer finally finds the box Christina has been hiding and opens it up, it really doesn’t matter what’s inside because it has been a hell of a journey so far. And I guess the director felt the same because the contents of the box are never revealed. An homage to this can be seen in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The final scene of the box being opened and starting a nuclear explosion was a nice surprise and matched with all the Cold War drama going on in real life.
Final review: 4/5. I wouldn’t call this required viewing, but it was a lot of fun to watch and gave me hope for similar classic films
Up next: Onibaba