Act of Violence

Watch Act of Violence

"The manhunt no woman could stop!"
  • Passed
  • 1948
  • 1 hr 22 min
  • 7.5  (5,589)

Act of Violence is a 1948 American film noir directed by Fred Zinnemann and stars Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, and Janet Leigh in the lead roles. It tells the story of a World War II veteran, Frank Enley (played by Heflin), who is confronted by a man he betrayed during the war, Joe Parkson (played by Ryan), leading to a chain of events that threaten to destroy his life.

The movie opens with Enley living a seemingly idyllic life in a small southern California town with his wife Edith (played by Leigh) and their young son. However, we soon learn that Enley is hiding a dark secret from his past. During the war, he was in charge of a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany where he betrayed Parkson, a fellow American soldier, to the Nazis, resulting in his imprisonment and torture. Enley managed to escape and return home, where he was hailed as a hero and given a medal for his bravery.

However, when Parkson tracks down Enley and confronts him with the truth, Enley's life begins to unravel. He becomes paranoid and begins to suspect that Parkson is out to kill him. He also becomes distant from his wife and starts drinking heavily, trying to drown out the guilt he feels over what he did during the war. Meanwhile, Parkson continues to stalk Enley, determined to exact revenge for his betrayal.

The movie is notable for its tense atmosphere and stark, moody cinematography, which perfectly captures the sense of foreboding and paranoia that permeates the story. The acting is also superb, particularly Ryan's portrayal of Parkson as a man consumed by hate and driven to the brink of madness by his desire for revenge. Heflin, too, is excellent as Enley, conveying the character's inner turmoil and desperation with subtlety and nuance.

As the story unfolds, we see Enley's carefully constructed world slowly cracking under the weight of his guilt and fear. He is forced to confront the reality of what he did during the war and the terrible consequences of his actions. Parkson, too, is revealed to be a complex character with his own demons, haunted by the memory of what happened to him in the prison camp.

Despite the film's grim subject matter, Act of Violence is a compelling and gripping drama that explores themes of guilt, redemption, and the consequences of war. It is a powerful reminder of the toll that conflict can take on those who experience it firsthand, and a cautionary tale about the need to confront one's past and take responsibility for one's actions.

In conclusion, Act of Violence is a must-see film for fans of classic film noir and those who appreciate movies with complex characters and themes. It is a timeless gem that still resonates today, more than seven decades after its initial release.

Act of Violence
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 22 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (5,589)