Undoubtably one of the most enduring and loved classics of all time, "Casablanca" sets a high standard for what drama should be like. From its gritty and realistic feel and iconically written dialogue to its relatable and enthralling plot, it really is a masterpiece.
During World War II, Casablanca has become a holding station of some sorts for people to come and wait until they can get to America. The city is the last stop on the way to freedom. The people pile up and wait for their turn to be away from the fighting. But then, murders take place and important documents are stolen, documents that the police expect have made their way to Casablanca.
Rick owns a saloon, he never drinks with his customers and is only in business for himself. He's a self-professing selfish man. He has connections like no one else. Cool and collected, you'll never see him sweat. People ask him for favors left and right and he grants those that he thinks will benefit himself.
When he is given leverage over the police by gaining the right to Casablanca any time he wants, he plays it safe and waits for the right time to use this power.
Then Ilsa shows up on the right hand of a man who is leading a revolt against the Germans. She walks into the bar and he is sent back into memories and confusion as he tries desperately to sort it out before it's too late for everyone involved.
Humphrey Bogart iconically plays Rick, this role sees him delivering some of the most famous movie lines. From "Here's looking at you, kid." to "Of all the gins joints...", it's no wonder that the script is heralded as one of the best ever written.
Ingrid Bergman is stunning as Ilsa, the way she can talk with a perfectly normal voice while tears build in her eyes is astonishing. Her face is so complex, she tries to put on a brave face but is vulnerable enough to let the viewer know that her heart is breaking.
Michael Curtiz gained himself an Oscar for directing as did the picture itself and its screenplay. It's hard to think what this movie might have been like without his sentimental yet gritty touch. It's not noir like Bogart's other works like "The Maltese Falcon"; but it has elements of noir. The constant cigarette smoke and bourbons are always part of Bogart's characters but in "Casablanca" he is simply perfection. He is who he needs to be, not too much and not too little. The just right phenomenon of acting.
Minor characters also delight with sardonic, quick-witted humor that is quite applicable such as Claude Rains as Captain Renault, the man who seems to have figured Rick out.
It's impossible to describe what an enormous impact this movie has had on the film industry, it's easier to just let it speak for itself.
Score: 4 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones