The Wages of Fear (1953)


Henri-Georges Clouzot directs Yves Montand, Charles Vanel and Peter van Eyck in this intense existential actioner of hobos who drive trucks packed with nitroglycerin across the rocky roads of South America for a massive payday.  

Utterly engrossing. The first hour following the stranded itinerant workers left bumming around a jobless town, too broke to buy a ticket home, establishing the grizzled characters and the desperate motivation that fuel the concept is masterful enough but once we hit the road where every bump is a catastrophe waiting to happen then we, the viewer, is transformed into God. Casually observing but unwilling to intervene with the tragedy unfolding. A series of nail biting, ambitious set-pieces made all the more unpredictable due to Clouzot’s casual pessimism at the the pointless struggle of survival. Tough guy adventure doesn’t come any darker.


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