Casablanca This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 25, 2009
Geez, what hasn't been said about this film? Considered one of the greatest films of American cinema, Casablanca remains on critics' lists of the greatest films ever made. While one might argue that, as a film critic, I should have seen this much earlier, I'm quite glad I watched it when I did as I think I can now properly appreciate the film. Granted, I don't think it;s one of the greatest movies ever made, it's still quite a fantastic film.

The film follows Rick Blaine, a bitter and cynical American, residing in the city of Casablanca indefinitely, who owns his own saloon in the corrupt city. Rick Blaine, you see, is just an ordinary guy, albeit with some deep issues. He's not necessarily a bad guy, but he most certainly shouldn't be considered moral either. While this bitter and brooding man simply just wants to go day through day in foul Casablanca, his life is uprooted when Ilsa, an old love, comes into town...

Casablanca looks incredible, especially for a 1940's film, with its use of shadows and B&W coloring adding a highly dark and interesting atmosphere. Speaking of visuals, the city of Casablanca itself looks great in night and day. During the day, it seems like the actual hellish marketplaces of the third world, while during the night it becomes a shadow-laden scene reminiscent of all of the great film noir of the 30's and 40's.

The characters are all quite interesting, not to mention they push the plot rather than the plot pushing them. Humphrey Bogart gives a truly legendary performance as Rick, and his counterpart - Ingrid Bergman - also giving a delightful performance as Ilsa. Come to think of it, all of the performances atand out as being quite great, with the one exception of the actor portraying Laszlo. He seemed very stiff in the film, which contrasted against the well-developed personalities of the other characters. It's especially hard to sympathize with him because of his stiffness, which I wouldn't complain about if it weren't for the fact we're led to sympathize with him.

Then, of course, there's the spectacular and widely-acclaimed ending. This ending has been mentioned so many times in pop-culture that it's insane, though it does have good reason to do so. Out of all of the films I've ever seen, this has to be one of the most emotionally and thematically satisfying endings out there. In addition to the great characters and memorable plot, there are tons of really memorable lines in the film. "We'll always have Paris", "round up the usual suspects", and - of course - "here's looking at you, kid".

There are some notable complaints, however. Firstly, the film is susceptible to some dragging, though not to the point of being unbearable. Also, as mentioned, the actor portraying main character Laszlo seems stiff in comparison to the other mains, not really having any good moments save the French vs. German patriotism scene.

Though the film suffers from some minor problems, it still stands as an American classic that mixes noir, romance, and epics. Here's looking at you, kid...

9.5/10 - Fantastic

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