Casablanca Review

“… an enjoyable watch even to this day.”

The thing about classic American cinema is it’s great. Everyone knows it’s great. I watched Casablanca last night and it was great. But with that comes an unspoken rule that criticizing these films is kind of taboo. Sure Casablanca is a great movie, but it’s not flawless.

The problem I have with most old movies is that they are boring. Sure movies can be boring today as well, but I find that the requirement for audience attention is a lot more demanding in the current film climate which produces more interesting movies. It’s weird that if a movie like Casablanca, a blockbuster at the time, was released today it would be classified as ‘arthouse’. It just shows the shift in opinions over the years.

And Casablanca really is a great movie. I for one was impressed with the story in particular. Casablanca follows Rick, an American who owns a cafe/nightclub in Casablanca where the film is set. The movie really has a lot going on, with many different characters each with their own goals and motivations, but in my opinion it does a good job to balance everything. This story structure keeps things fresh longer than they would be otherwise, and that becomes all the more apparent when Casablanca is stripped down to the “main” story towards the end of the film and things seem to come to a grinding halt.

Apart from the story Casablanca remains a very influential picture in Hollywood even to this day. A lot of the direction and lighting was very creative for the time and it really set a precedent for many movies that came afterwards. I will admit that a few of the performances were still stuck in the “classic Hollywood” stage leaving a few moments of the film feeling dated and almost like looking through a window into the past, but overall Casablanca was a film that was very much ahead of its time. The often funny dialogue mixed in with the mature themes as well as the fleshed-out characters make Casablanca an enjoyable watch even to this day.

Overall Casablanca is Casablanca. There’s not much I can say about it that hasn’t been said already. It’s still a good movie.

I give Casablanca a B

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