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Overall Rating
4.7

Awesome83.93%
Worth A Look: 10.71%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 1.79%
Total Crap: 3.57%

2 reviews, 44 user ratings


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Sunset Boulevard
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by Chef ADogg

"In a word? Perfection."
5 stars

Really one of the best movies I've ever seen. Every performance is a winner, the script is full of zingers, and Billy Wilder's direction is stylish and elegant. If you don't watch it for those elements, at least see it for all the quotable lines--you'll be well equipped for years.

Gloria Swanson plays Norma Desmond, a faded Hollywood star who lives in a moldy elephant of a house, with only her butler and a chimp to keep her company. When we first meet her, the monkey has passed away and she's looking for a replacement.

Cash-strapped screenwriter William Holden fills the position nicely, until he starts to suffocate and tries to escape. That's when the relationship becomes obsessive, and comes to a somewhat unhappy end.

The plot is delivered with much sun-soaked style; "Sunset Boulevard" really cements Billy Wilder as a genius of cinema. The great trick of his direction is that it feels loose even while he's exerting great control; the only other director to ever come close to pulling that off is Martin Scorsese, and he never quite nailed it.

Wilder paints Hollywood as a beautiful, vicious place where danger lurks around every bend, and then fills it with the most morally bankrupt bunch of characters to ever stalk the silver screen. Our hero sticks with Norma only because it's financially benefical to do so, and she keeps him around by repeatedly threatening suicide. The movie works because it punishes them both equally.

The performances are what make you care. Holden and Swanson get the most screen time, and they're both perfect for their roles. Pay special attention when they're snapping back and forth--there's a veritable treasure trove of great lines in there just waiting to be casually abused.

"Sunset Boulevard" is built around dialogue; it never stops and all of it is delivered with verve and wit. Some people might complain that it's stagy (and it's pretty obvious all the talk has been scripted), but you fall into the rhythms as the movie progresses and it becomes really natural. I personally think it's harder to create your own reality and build atmosphere from scratch than to just reflect what's already out there.

"Sunset Boulevard" has all the requirements for making a movie--actors, director, script, film--but Wilder also includes a very special ingredient that holds it all together and makes the proceedings so grand. I'm talking about class, and this movie has it in spades.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3489&reviewer=123
originally posted: 12/12/99 07:54:34
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User Comments

4/13/17 Suzanne So glad I finally watched this - what a masterpiece! 5 stars
3/08/15 stanley welles brilliant hollywood-on-hollywood satire 5 stars
2/15/15 filmiw23 in my top 10 worst film ever made 1 stars
2/08/15 russel what the fuck!!! this movie in the top 3 best movie ever?????? 1 stars
1/07/15 Robert Tschinkel This to me is the perfect movie. Great performances, writing, directing. 5 stars
5/18/14 mr.mike A must for cinema buffs. 5 stars
10/18/11 C.M. Chan One of the great Hollywood tragedies. 5 stars
10/02/11 7thstranger One of the GOAT! They had faces then! 5 stars
2/21/11 Josie Cotton is a goddess A deadpan and disturbing satire on the Hollywood system. 5 stars
7/04/09 Kristen Wilder's deliciously dark script + amazing noir cinematography = masterpiece. Perfection! 5 stars
1/15/09 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
12/09/08 MP Bartley Twisted brilliance. Excels in every department. 5 stars
2/05/08 Paul Shortt Brilliant film noir. Certainly a genuine contender for the greatest film ever made 5 stars
1/26/08 proper amateur film critic briliant and fascinating drama with many memorable marvellous moments 5 stars
6/13/07 fools♫gold This and "The Gunfighter" threaten what I said about (the also awe-some) "All About Eve." 5 stars
1/03/07 ashley bissette this is an amazing film that can be viewed over and over again 5 stars
10/11/06 R.W.Welch Was anybody ever as good as Wilder? Was anybody ever better than Swanson? 5 stars
7/20/06 Agent Sands One of the greatest American classics. Truly mesmerizing final shot. 5 stars
5/14/06 mr.mike slightly overrated but holds your interest 4 stars
4/01/06 John Dog A must-see for every movie fan. 5 stars
11/21/05 David Fowler Swanson is EXQUISITE! Possibly, probably, the greatest film ever made 5 stars
11/03/05 Peter Ernst Your right great movie have seen it numerous times 5 stars
8/06/05 jay boggs This is an intensely fascinating film that stays with you forever. Must see! 5 stars
6/03/04 Angel Delicious Noir, and very entertaining. 4 stars
12/17/03 Tim Triangle Yawn Yawn probably not that bad if only I could of stayed awake. 2 stars
6/08/03 earl hoffert swanson, von strohiem are brilliant 5 stars
4/25/03 mr. Pink A classic. This is the film that all Hollywood satires should be measured by. 5 stars
8/10/02 I Can't Swim Swanson gives a towering performance; Bill makes a good boytoy too 5 stars
4/06/02 Ryan Imhoff An absolute masterpiece. This film epitomizes perfection. 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver A true classic. Remember Carol Burnett's parody? 5 stars
1/07/02 mattski brutally good, a lesson in how films should be 5 stars
1/05/02 Monster W. Kung Good, but a little bit too depressing. 4 stars
12/19/01 Hum wow 5 stars
12/17/01 Herb Slojewski A great great film, a tribute to Bill Holden, Swanson could not have been more perfect. 5 stars
12/17/01 Andrew Carden Pretty Good Movie...but I Prefer The 1996 B*Way Recording. 4 stars
11/26/01 donna fucking sick 5 stars
10/21/01 Robert Still an excellent critique of Hollywood, even 50 years later 5 stars
9/29/01 Magdalena Garrido Very good 5 stars
9/28/01 George Spelvin One of the best films ever made. Brilliant in every way. 5 stars
7/31/01 Big Bob Good movie if a bit dated 4 stars
7/21/01 gus i liked it 5 stars
7/07/01 Elvisfan NOTHING like it. Stands alone. Swanson should've won Oscar 5 stars
7/03/01 Boomshanka Swanson is out of control good. Holden a bit stiff, but Wilder's script brings him up. 4 stars
12/13/99 JonnyAngel Excellent everything! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  10-Aug-1950 (NR)
  DVD: 11-Nov-2008

UK
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