Film Reviews, Short Review

The Apartment (1960)

4/4

There’s a long tradition of European directors arriving in Hollywood and tempering American cinema’s traditional happy-go-lucky positivity with Mitteleuropan cynicism and causticity. None were as sharp, witty, and smooth about it as Billy Wilder. The Apartment, about a white-collar clerk (Jack Lemmon) who tries to get a leg up the promotion ladder by renting his apartment out to company bosses for their affairs, is one of his most cynical films; a downbeat lonely yell against the intruding spectre of the corporate environment. The abrasiveness and bitterness of the script is tempered by Wilder’s graceful and elegant filmmaking, whilst Lemmon’s performance is superb, getting the balance just right between the hopeless loser who lets others use him, and the genuinely likeable guy who just can’t seem to catch a break. Chalk up another masterpiece for Billy Wilder.

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