25 August 2013 | BA_Harrison
It's 'all change' for the final act.
Strangers on a Train boasts a neat central idea (the 'swapping' of murders), several classic Hitchcockian moments, and a fine performance from Robert Walker as psychotic socialite Bruno; but despite these admirable qualities the film fails to qualify as a complete success thanks to a severely flawed final act that makes one wonder what the hell Hitch was thinking.
Farley Granger's tennis-pro Guy Haines being coerced into discussing murder by charismatic lunatic Bruno—all well and good. The nutter carrying out his side of the plan as discussed—great stuff. Haines afraid to go to the police for fear of being implicated in a murderous pact with a clearly deranged Bruno—hey, why not? People don't always make the wisest of decisions when under pressure.
The whole ridiculous fairground finale, however, cannot be so easily brushed aside. Bruno develops telescopic arms, the police act like bumbling trigger-happy fools, and a merry-go-round achieves warp-speed before a toothless old guy confuses a self-destruct lever for the brake. It's like something out of a fever-dream—illogical, perplexing and utterly deranged—a dreadful way to end what was proving to be a very enjoyable thriller.
6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.