Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Cool is That?

Well, not very when I think about the movie, Double Indemnity. Now, I would say that it was an enjoyable movie, but I don’t think I’d call it great. It had action, suspense, flirting, wit, and a breaking of the rules. What it lacked, though, was cool main characters. I felt very disappointed as I watched Phyllis and Neff develop. Now, I know that I talked favorably of this movie in the last blog, but it was mainly filming techniques and ideas instead of how cool the movie is that I liked. So, Neff and Phyllis both end up very uncool, where Keyes is the coolest person in the movie to me. Neff and Phyllis both have the potential to be cool, but other characteristics of them cancels that potential out.

Neff. I will award him the title of “least cool”. Really, the only thing that I find cool in the guy is his intellect. I liked the back-and-forth between him and Phyllis; he showed wit and a quick mind. This scene is a very important one in that Neff quickly figures out Phyllis’s plan to kill her husband in order to collect his insurance. This is where Neff loses his cool, so to speak. At first, he showed promise in calling Phyllis out and rejecting her offer, but her murderous perfume slowly intoxicates his mind until he decides to do it. Neff seems unstable and too malleable by those who strongly influence him. In one minute, he is against murder because it is wrong; the next, he is following Phyllis’s idea and plotting the perfect murder. He’s not going to sell insurance to Mr. Dietrichson, and then, he does. He is extreme when he makes a decision, but there really doesn’t seem to be much of a fight of morals. Neff just seems empty like the stormtroopers in Star Wars.

Then there is Phyllis. She will get the “Thanks for Trying” award. She definitely had more cool qualities than Neff, but I think most of this comes from her being a powerful woman. Phyllis isn’t like those women who got hysterical, emotional, or shaky, like in Casablanca; basically, she didn’t act like a teacup poodle or some other small yappy dog. Phyllis doesn’t take orders well and is willing to do anything for her happiness, like killing all of the Dietrichsons. Her strength and frightening character makes her cool in a power type of way, but in the end, she just remains a murdering villain who doesn’t care about anyone but herself, save for a glimpse of care for Neff.

Now, our most prized award, the “Coolest Cat” award, goes to Keyes. This man is the coolest in the movie. He is smarter than both Neff and Phyllis, set in his ways and is independent, but he also has a line that he won’t cross. Even at the end, when he could help Neff escape, he doesn’t. No, Keyes turns his friend into the police. He can see, or feel, when something isn’t right. We discussed how he is in the “dirty” insurance business, so he really isn’t a “hero” type of person; however, I disagree. He set about trying to find people who were cheating the system, but he didn’t seem like he was going to cheat a person out of a real claim. Keyes is the light in this dark Noir film.


  1. I agree--as far as coolness goes, Neff definitely doesn't win the coolest cat award. He was charming, in a way, but just average--more personality than any other salesmen I know, though. Heh, heh, sorry if you're related to any personable insurance salesmen, by the way.

  2. Ha! Maybe you should have a "Coolest Cat" award every week.