Saturday night I watched National Velvet, Detour, The Hitchhiker, and Nashville on Turner Classic movies. The descent from National Velvet to the noir of Detour took about 20 minutes to acclimate myself. The descent from the noir of The Hitchhiker to the noir of Nashville took longer.
Nashville is one of the best noir movies. Evil as such does not exist. The film categorizes the foibles of humanity. We see everything from pettiness and vanity to pure lack of talent for the task. Betrayal takes center stage. Even the killer is an enigma. I have never figured out who he wants to kill or why. The large collage of characters weave in and out of each other’s lives and no character leaves better for the encounter. I feel as if I have fallen asleep on the beach when the movie begins. At the end, I feel as though I have been swept out to sea by the tide. The evil or psychotic hitchhiker of Detour or The Hitchhiker does not haunt us in the way the characters, addicted to fame and money, in Nashville haunt us.
Nashville presents the real terror we live with each day. Our flaws accumulate in the back room, yet threaten to enter the parlor for all to see. It creates that feeling of foreboding before walking into the street when you wonder how many uncivilized people you will meet. We swim against the tide of our flaws.