White Heat (Walsh, 1949)

This review contains spoilers.

White Heat (Raoul Walsh, 1949)

I really wanted to like this, but by the end I was just okay on it. James Cagney plays a psychopathic criminal who is also a mama’s boy. The film follows him as he pulls of a heist, goes to jail, and as the police try to locate the man who helped him hide the money he stole.

Many call this Cagney’s greatest performance ever, but I think he was way overrated. He’s good in certain scenes, like the one where he finds out his ma has died and goes ballistic in the jail mess hall. But overall give me Ed O’Brien’s performance (who plays the undercover cop trying to get information) any day over Cagney’s. The film’s ending is also pretty bad as it completely shifts Cagney’s character’s personality for the sake of a good one-liner. Outside of all that, it’s just a typical cops and robbers movie with good guys and bad guys. Despite all my complaints though, it’s definitely entertaining, tightly written (plot-wise), and decently photographed.  6.75/10

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