Mickey One (1965) - Arthur Penn
Mickey One stars Warren Beatty as a nightclub comic who is forced to live his life on the run after getting involved with the Mob. He flees Detroit for Chicago, taking the name 'Mickey One', but when he starts to see his star rise, his paranoia and fear of the mob finding him escalates, leading him to live in a constant state of panic. Arthur Penn's early film, Mickey One, is an interesting film which channels a lot of techniques from the French New Wave. The film is very artistically shot and designed, featuring some great montages and scenes throughout. Although Mickey seems unsure as to why the mob is after him in the first place, the film plays more like a chase film in the early part of the film. Things become especially interetsing once Mickey meets his love interest in Jenny (Alexandra Stewart), a woman which he slowly begins to fall in love with. Through this relationship with Jenny, the audience is able to see deeply into Mickey's soul and relate to his fear and anxiety about not only for his own life, but the well-being of Jenny. The paranoia which begins to consume Mickey is particularly affective, using some rather haunting and expressionistic lighting and imagery to really capture the fear and anxiety which slowly consuming Mickey. The spotlight sequence, where Mickey feels trapped and alone while being on stage is really the highlight of the film, capturing an almost unbearable amount of tension and unease. In fact, the film has quite a few memorable montage sequences from the opening sequence to the principal sequence which captures Mickey and Jenny falling in love. A very unconventional Hollywood film from the time, Mickey One is an underappreciated film that definitely deserves to be mentioned as one of Arthur Penn's best films.
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