Movies You Should See #28: Sunset Blvd. • director Billy Wilder
I might be a bit biased, but in an industry where most directors are lucky to have one, maybe two memorable films that define their career, Billy Wilder seems to have an endless amount. And in a career of amazing films, Sunset Blvd. stands out from the pack.
Joe Gillis is dead. He tells you so in the first frames of this film. But what happens next is what makes his death, and his life matter. From the beyond he begins to tell the audience how he died, and what led up to it - how a fledgling Hollywood screenwriter would up floating face down in the swimming pool of Norma Desmond, one of the silent screens greatest stars. This is a tale of hubris, and it spares no expense.
Gloria Swanson stars in Sunset Blvd. as Norma Desmond and she is flawless. Many actresses were afraid of this role, and turned Wilder down, because they were afraid of the cynical look the film took on Hollywood. Ms. Swanson even received a nomination for Best Actress.
Sunset Blvd. is mesmerizing because of the incredible man that is Billy Wilder. Wilder co-wrote and directed this film, and as always the film holds his classic wit, cynicism and power. This film is not one that will leave you feeling uplifted, but it is one that teaches you something about humanity, and it has influenced filmmakers and artists since it first hit the screen decades ago.
Sunset Blvd. is one of the films that is constantly fighting for it’s place as my favorite film. It normally holds a tie at the very top with another phenominal noir, The Usual Suspects. If you watch this film you will not be able to withstand its power. Sunset Blvd. is a film that grabs you and holds on; this film will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.