Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sunset Boulevard: The Centennial Collection

Surely everything poignant or insightful there is to say about Billy Wilder’s acid-tongued masterpiece Sunset Boulevard has already been said. It’s benchmark cinema - a highpoint of movie history. The film has been deservedly discussed, dissected and devoured by many an intellect more insightful than mine. No amount of words can really express what makes this movie the classic that it is; one must experience it in order to get it. Yet in the spirit of trying to reach anyone who has yet to be initiated into the cult, this review will endeavor (and likely fail) to give it a go.

Movies and TV shows about the film and TV industry are a dime a dozen these days, but Wilder paved the way for all that came after by blowing open the barn doors on an industry that routinely shuns its best and brightest – sometimes after their prime, and sometimes before they begin to shine. Boulevard tells the story of two such people – forgotten silent movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) - and how their lives intersect, and the rippling series of tidal waves that result from their accidental meeting. It isn’t a spoiler to say that the story is told from the point of view of a dead man, since the tale begins with Gillis’ body floating in a pool. From there, his acerbic narration works backwards to six months before so the audience can discover the events that led up to his early morning swim.

Please read the rest of this DVD review by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.