Where the Sidewalk Ends (Preminger, 1950)
This review contains slight spoilers.
While I could have done without the ‘I have to overcome my daddy issues’ thematic approach, overall this is a very nice cop-with-an-attitude noir. We’re treated to a protagonist wrestling with deception and the guilt that results. As a man who has had no problem in the past crossing the line of justice to ensure bad men get their deserved punishments, when he accidentally kills an innocent man, he quickly covers up to save face. From here, not only does his cover-up become more of a mess than he imagined, his inner turmoil does as well. Additionally, the web of lies and guilt only become stickier when he starts to fall in love.
You can see the man start to unravel under the pressure of so many enormous burdens. He can’t sleep; his decision-making is poor; he begins hurting those closest to him. So when he comes to a conclusion that finally brings him inner peace (during a scene set at night, in a dimly lit quiet room), despite its shocking nature, you can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief for him. Unfortunately, Preminger wasn’t allowed to or didn’t have the guts to follow through with the dark finale, which makes for an awful last scene. Regardless, it’s an interesting examination into the mind of the guilt-ridden. 8/10