Touch of evil

Posted by: | March 3, 2009 | Comments Off on Touch of evil

I found the narrative very interesting. I liked how the director divided our attention between what was going on with uncle Joe Grandi and with Quinlan to mislead us and make us wonder about the fate of Susan. I thought that the bad cop versus the good cop story must have been original at the time ( I am thinking about the movie with Al Pacino and Robert Deniro, same team and still interesting). I also liked the female characters and how they fit into the concept of mexicanidad and of the femme fatale of the noir cinema.

Brothels, prostitution and cabarets were an important themes in the plot even though they were not the main focus of the movie.

After reading the article I realized a lot of details about the characters that I did not find clear from the movie like the fact that Susan and Miguel were in their honey moon, the exact job of Vargas and his status in the United States. I also found the analysis very interesting. I did not notice that Vargas’ skin tone was darkened for the movie. He proposes that the director, Welles, did this unconsciously to discuss about racial issues in the border and I agree with this since I think that Miguel represented the Mexican state and the desire of Mexicans to appear reliable and knowledgeable to Americans.

Also I agree with the author of the article on that the movie attempts to criticize the State of emergency and the “Wet back operation” using visual metaphors for the injustices and disadvantages to America of such political agenda. The most revealing evidence of such argument is the final scene were Hank floats in the river after Vargas made him confess by taking advantage of his powers and declaring an “state of emergency” that allows him to behave outside the law. The transformation of the wife and what happen to her is also a powerful example of the consequences of stopping obeying the law to reestablish it.

I also like the argument made by the author about how Mexicans are members of the American society which can not been included in it because America must lack what immigrants have to offer. I thought it was a philosophical idea suitable to explain the logic behind many of the deportation operation done in the United stated in the 20th centuries. Additionally, this ideas serve as a good background and historical context for the motivation in making touch of evil.

I wonder if the title was selected to remind the audience that the film is noir. Since film noir often has a hero which has poor moral values, I interpreted Touch of evil as the bad attitude and poor work ethic of Miguel by the end of the movie. I think that making critiques to American politics less obvious was important for the director (He has issues with the government) and therefore having a title that emphasized the non-political content of the film was important for the director as well.


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