The Informer (Ford, 1935)

The Informer (John Ford, 1935)

The nighttime streets of foggy, shadowy Ireland is the strikingly photographed setting of this venture into the depths of desperation. Victor McLaglen gives a fantastic performance as a brutish simpleton with a sad inability to understand the real consequences of his actions. He is Ford’s Lennie – a child-like, harmless man that doesn’t quite grasp his potential to cause hurt. His one desire is to take care of his sweetheart, also poor and desperate. But after taking an impulsive drastic measure to do so, he finds himself distracted by the bottle, his need for acceptance, and his susceptibility to exploitation – all of which finds him away from his gal. This downward spiral to his inevitable unhappy ending sees him ignorant nearly the whole way down; the few ‘aha’ moments he does have are always accompanied by an awkward handling of the situation. It’s a sad tale and if Ford’s secondary characters (and their dialogue) didn’t feel elementary, this would be a masterpiece.  8.25/10

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