Sunday, November 8, 2009

THE WAGES OF FEAR (French) (1953)

I watched this film without any preconceived notions and it churns out as a brilliant and highly tense and engaging thriller which blows my mind for complete two hour thirty minutes. I am still wondering with surprise that such a technically flawless; tension filled and minutely detailing film was made more than fifty years ago. All praise goes to Director Henri-Georges Clouzot and he’s blissful revelation for me and I’m so desperate to watch his ‘Les Diaboliques’.

The first hour of the film focuses on neorealist kind of realistic and film noire kind of dark, seedy setting of a village where bunch of jobless laborers living with their cement rotten lungs and mosquitoes stricken Malaria. It sets the paradoxical class distinction between the world of Working and Capital Class with introduction of lead characters and their temperamental mindsets. The brilliant second part makes a highly arresting thrill ride with tension filled with Four players divided in two rival teams competing against each other transport two trucks full of deadly Nitroglycerine cans along three hundred miles hilly and bumpy mountain pass to the site of oil refinery. Its highly explosive material which blows anything to bits and pieces. The tension lies in what they have on trucks but it’s the road which is mother of all obstacles and tensions. They have to be damn careful since every single pebble, pothole, bump, hairpin turn or a wooden platform plays a great risk on the road and slightest amount of jerk can blow them to bits.

I don’t care if it seems too exaggerated but I haven’t seen any better road movies than this masterpiece. In how many films we see ‘wheel’ as character!!! In no other film you find tension comes from two basic things while driving- ‘the track’ and ‘the wheel’. The breath taking tension was depicted with some brilliant minute detailing and precision that you love to watch it second time. The depiction of four working class guys who have guts on their sleeves played wonderfully by all actors but it’s a French lead actor Yves Montand as Mario who steals the show. Initially what drives them as glory of cash slowly turning them towards victim of human greed. In the culminating climax the film explores the theme to different level where financial reward comes at the cost of moral and spiritual ruin. Watch how far all of them go in their pursuit of wages of fear!!!

I become a big fan of Director Clouzot with this single film. Its technically such a flawless that even today one can call it reference material to make tension filled thriller. There are two involving scenes which stay in my memory for a long time. The first one is one that shows the sequence of that rotten wooden platform to reverse the truck and the second blowing that 50 tonne huge rock on the road. Brilliant camera works focusing on every possible wheel movement on the challenging road is something phenomenon about this film.

I would like to shout- ‘WATCH IT ASAP.”

Masterpieces can’t be rated.

1 comment:

Naresh said...

I always like to watch this movie.. but I am not get good file to download :(. I will surely watch this movie soon..