After being double-crossed by his previous client, a contract killer hunts down the men responsible for this deception. WIth the police in hot pursuit, he forms an unlikely friendship with a lounge singer, whose fiance happens to be the main detective on the aforementioned case. This Gun For Hire is a very fast paced Noir that's greatest strength is it's main protagonist, Raven. Raven played by Alan Ladd, is a cold emotionless man who early on comes off more like a machine than any type of man. Through a very subtle performance, we see that Raven is a tortured individual whose past and present loneliness have led him down this dark path of contract killing. The scene between Veronica Lake's lounge singer and him while in hiding, really is the only scene in the film where we get a glimpse under his tough, rugged exterior. Ladd really deserves a lot of credit for this iconic performance. This film is all about the character of Raven, but Laird Cregar also gives a great performance as Willard Gates, the man responsible for the double-cross. He brings this great squeamish, cowardly villian to life, and it's definitely a different take on this archetypal character in these films. As far as Noir's go, This Gun For Hire is nothing special in the visual department, but it really never needs to be cause Raven is such a great, nuanced anti-hero. Random sidenote: Ladd's Raven character really reminded me of Delon's Costello in Le Samouraï.
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