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Parents' Guide to

Double Indemnity

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Dark, dialogue-heavy classic of grim suspense.

Movie NR 1944 104 minutes
Double Indemnity Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 9+

Double Film-Noir!

With overtones of moral failure that almost make you remorse on behalf of the protagonist, undertones of lust, crackling dialogue that's as cynical as it's extremely classy and sharp-witted, a grim atmosphere of impending doom created by the stunning black-and-white photography, it's safe to say that my first Billy Wilder has all the trademarks of film-noir. That said, I wouldn't be wrong in saying that this film is kinda subversive; only on its own terms. In saying that, I mean that the jaw-dropping nuances Wilder has sizzled this film with, and the painstaking attention to details gave Double Indemnity unique taste, and made it stand out from all the films of its kind. Giving away the plot synopsis usually tarnishes the experience of watching your typical film noir because the toughness of them are their small details, let alone doing so with this one in addition to explaining why I find the subtlety of it so mesmerizing. Watch Double Indemnity and you’ll know what I mean straight away! Alas, It seems that this very meticulous attention to detail came at the expense of making the most important the most crucial moments and the turning points convincing. The academic nature of the film's plotting made a lot of decisive moments a bit hard to swallow. It also made the movie drag, surprisingly, at what should have been the most intriguing part. All the performances here are fine, but it's Edward G. Robinson who steals the show for me. He plays the quick-witted, determined investigator, Barton Keyes, who may be a bit too smart and clever to be believable; but thanks to Robinson's fierce performance, Keyes hands down is my favorite character in the movie. Double Indemnity is an extremely well-crafted moody crime film that transcends the nature of its plotting with an unprecedented, unmatched, unsurpassable subtlety that made the main characters lifelike, and made the story thought-provoking in the first place. It raised the bar and set the standard for film-noir making at its time, and continues to inspire every neo-noir film, nay every crime film to this day. (8.5/10)
age 18+

Excellent but dark. 14+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (6 ):

DOUBLE INDEMNITY has all the hallmarks of film noir – it's a moody, pessimistic crime story with strong overtones of spiritual bankruptcy and moral cynicism. The best of film noir sizzles with crackling, sardonic dialogue, veiled lust, terrific black-and-white photography, and overtones of impending doom. This is one of the best, all right, even if, like Casablanca, it's practically all talk.

Even today, these characters' jaded attitudes toward taking a life is bracingly sinister; as if right and wrong don't matter in this milieu, only getting caught or getting away with it. Add to this lack of remorse themes of obsession and betrayal and the power of great film noir is revealed.

Movie Details

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