Force of Evil

Director: Abraham Polonsky
Year Released: 1948
Rating: 3.0

Early noir is one of the most serious and sophisticated films from the forties I've seen - its glum intensity is reflected in Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success several years later - about gamblers and crooks working the 'numbers racket' in underground New York City. John Garfield is fantastic as a morally and ethically challenged corporate lawyer who does everything in his power to (inadvertently) ruin his older brother's life (under the false assumption that he's actually helping him). The movie's only weakness is its inability to show much of a 'bright side' (or even present any light or semi-light moments), leaving one feeling slightly depressed instead of moved.