Force of Evil (1948)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir


Force of Evil (1948) Poster

An unethical lawyer, with an older brother he wants to help, becomes a partner with a client in the numbers racket.


7.4/10
5,148

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  • John Garfield and Beatrice Pearson in Force of Evil (1948)
  • Force of Evil (1948)
  • Roy Roberts in Force of Evil (1948)
  • Beatrice Pearson in Force of Evil (1948)
  • John Garfield in Force of Evil (1948)
  • John Garfield and Roy Roberts in Force of Evil (1948)

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Awards

1 win.

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User Reviews


23 January 2003 | kennethwright2612
Top Marx!
McCarthy blacklist victim Abraham Polonsky's angry and poetic film noir is perhaps the most candidly subversive picture ever made in a commercial genre, almost explicitly equating capitalism with crime in the metaphor of the numbers racket. It belongs on the face of it to the post-war-disillusionment school of American thrillers (eg The Blue Dahlia, Key Largo), in which the evils that ordinary Joes spent the war fighting turn out to be business as usual when they get back home. But what makes it so unusual is its insistence, contrary to the message of other social-comment crime thrillers of the 1940s, that it's a bad system, rather than bad people, that's to blame for the woes of the world. The fate of Mob lawyer John Garfield's decent, kind-hearted brother Thomas Gomez, a small-time policy banker, shows us what happens to good people who try to play straight in a crooked game. If the bad guys in the film turned good, Polonsky implies, they'd only get the same. Polonsky described the source novel, Tucker's People, as "an autopsy on capitalism".

Sermon over: none of the above gets in the way of a raging, doom-laden crime melo that, like a snowball, gets faster and weightier as it barrels along. Superb New York location photography, a vitriolic script, and committed, sincere performances lock our attention to every second of its 81 New York minutes. If it weren't for Gun Crazy (scripted under a front name by another dangerous pinko, Dalton Trumbo), Force of Evil would be the best film noir ever made.

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