By looking at my favorite films, you can easily point out my love for film noir. The Third Man, a staple in the genre, rests at the very top of my list. Roughly (considering how often the list changes) a quarter of the films in my top 20 favorite films list consist of film noir. I'm always excited to see a new noir, whether it's a hidden gem or a classic that I have yet to see. Every once in a while, I'll stumble upon a noir film, widely regarded as a classic, that I don't particularly care for (The Asphalt Jungle, Rififi, Criss Cross). Sadly, Night and the City belongs on that list.
The film follows a plot that I won’t even try to explain. It maneuvers into directions that I cannot even comprehend and add on that the poor storytelling throughout.
Perhaps my basis towards The Third Man influenced my opinion towards Night and the City. Throughout the duration of the film, Dassin attempts to replicate the certain feeling and atmosphere conveyed in Carol Reed's The Third Man but falls short. Rather than cementing its own original stance on the noir genre, Dassin instead takes the route of essentially copying another film, albeit in poor quality. Only Carol Reed could capture his vision of The Third Man, and Jules Dassin seems to be in disbelief of that.
Despite that critical portion of Night and the City, the film is about as average as it can be. Dassin isn't an auteurist, and his attempts to portray himself that way fail.
Time Stamp: February 2020