Alfred Hitchcock - North by Northwest (1959), 7/10

With modern context North by Northwest feels like a superbly compelling narrative structure and sequence packaged in a nostalgic but inconsistently dry film. Still, the script is outstanding and remarkably ahead of its time, and there are plenty of scenes that work so well they are practically undeniably effective. Even the humor and pacing of the auction scene, for example, breathe life into the film just when it is most needed. There is still a lacking tension throughout much of the film until it is almost completed that make it pale in comparison to Hitchcock's great films and the charm of the story, while substantial, is not quite enough to help it match the greats. Another great scene, when the two lovers meet in the forest after the staged shooting, is executed well but still draws attention to its contextual shortcomings. The romantic progression itself is something that the script excels in executing, the initial attraction zig-zagging from unbelievable to pained to yearning back to anger, these aspects make the pair uniquely interesting and give further meaning and life to the story where necessary. For these reasons and for a general charisma flowing from the script effortlessly through Grant, the film is one that reveals further likeability with time and revisitation, similar to the famed director's other works. The climax of the story is largely a success with minute shortcomings stemming from its technical limitations rather than a lack of creativity, effort, or ingenuity. By the end of the experience, three things truly stand out and make the film exceptional: the script, the subversive humor, and the uniqueness of the story's delivery. There are some subtle touches that accentuate these aspects, making otherwise uninteresting sequences entirely compelling, but most scenes are already capturing and are simply elevated by these touches, such as vertical movement while Vandamm proclaims "this matter is best disposed of from a great height...over water". Many of these moments are so natural and now accepted into modern filmmaking that they can easily be lost in the mix, but still substantially aid in immersion and emotive power. While far from perfect, North by Northwest is a great film that inspires due infatuation.