(1948)

Critic Reviews

89

Metascore

Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
A highly stylized tale.
100
At its best, Force achieves a style at once brutal and poetic, documentarian and noir.
100
A shining example of everything Hollywood falling into place, and a masterpiece of cinema.
100
A poetic, terse, beautifully exact, and highly personal re-creation of the American underworld, with an unpunctuated Joycean screenplay by Polonsky that is perhaps unique in the American cinema. This is film noir at its best.
100
USA Today
Pearson's scenes with Garfield are among the most supercharged ever. [28 May 2004, p.6E]
90
Time Out
One of the key films of the '40s.
80
A dynamic crime-and-punishment drama, brilliantly and broadly realized.
75
Force of Evil is a more thoughtful kind of film noir than we are used to but still employs the traditional black-and-white contrasts and shadows.
63
Garfield’s likably unlikable protagonist provides Force of Evil with a semblance of cohesiveness, even if the film often feels like the product of dueling fetishes and pet symbols.
50
Force of Evil fails to develop the excitement hinted at in the title. Makers apparently couldn't decide on the best way to present an expose of the numbers racket, winding up with neither fish nor fowl as far as hard-hitting racketeer meller is concerned. A poetic, almost allegorical, interpretation keeps intruding on the tougher elements of the plot. This factor adds no distinction and only makes the going tougher.

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