A gritty and brutal revenge noire thriller, The Big Heat is one of the finest examples of the genre. The story of a cop dead set on taking on a large criminal syndicate sizzles with clear-eyed intensity, thanks to sharp writing, edgy directing and fine performances.
Bannion: Lucy Chapman used to be Duncan's girlfriend.
Wilks: And the army's and navy's.
The Big Heat is an uncompromising thrill ride. Director Fritz Lang constructs a hard-hitting police drama, inundated with violence, propelled by the ferocity of one man deciding to fight back against much larger forces, consequences be damned. Dave Bannion designates himself as a catalyst to upset the status quo, not necessarily knowing who will be victimized nor what the new order will look like, but certain that the existing corrupt arrangements need to be reset.
Debby (to Bannion): When Vince talks business, I go out and get my legs waxed or something.
Vince: Hey, that's nice perfume.
Debby: Something new. It attracts mosquitoes and repels men.
Mike Lagana: Prisons are bulging with dummies who wonder how they got there.
Glenn Ford bulldozes his way through the film, The Big Heat perfectly suited to his uncompromising screen persona. Lee Marvin and Alexander Scourby make formidable foes, Scourby more intellectual as Lagana and Marvin dangerously prone to brutality as Stone, a most memorable oily villain.
Debby: The main thing is to have the money. I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better.
By the time the bullets stop flying, every character in The Big Heat has been changed. Once the heat is turned up high enough, the pot explodes, and the spill is ever so messy.
All Ace Black Blog Movie Reviews are here.