On “Kiss Me Deadly” (1955)
Robert Aldrich’s pulp noir/sci-fi mystery is something of a mixed bag. It’s got a fierce reputation as one of the best thrillers of the 50s but for me such a view is just too generous.
Whilst visually impressive – the opening scene of a female hitchhiker running breathless along the road – the script is pretty poor and Ralph Meeker’s turn as Detective Mike Hammer is uninspired to say the least. There’s a full patchwork of characters, mostly gimmicky stereotypes, but they add little to the overall picture. Frustratingly little time is spent on Albert Dekker’s villain whose only notable scene is a metaphor-mixing and excruciating example of poor scriptwriting.
You can certainly appreciate it for the ambitious genre-bending and apocalyptic ending but it’s not the classic many would assume.