One thing that can ruin a film’s illusion for me is when someone acts grossly outside of what you would expect. This is what got The Reckless Moment off to a pretty rocky start for me and, as the film went on, kept happening. Like I know that with a run time of 82 minutes you aren’t going to be able to a huge amount of background work on characters – but the whole thing is sparked because of one thing: a mother thinks that her daughter is capable of murdering her sleazeball boyfriend.
Now, there is being protective and there is being ‘protective’. The mother gives her daughter one chance to own up to the crime she didn’t commit. At no point does she really press her as to why the deceased boyfriend has been found impaled on an anchor – instead she just assumes her daughter is a murderess and proceeds to hide to body in order to protect her family. It’s just a bit… off.
Then you have the blackmail plot where, in the blink of an eye, you have a blackmailer go from ‘give me all the money’ to a doe-eyed lovesick man who is going to protect her from his partner. It was such a quick shift in their dynamic that I am still not entirely sure what happened, unless it was her lecture about being a mother that made him fall for her. It was all just a bit strange.
This is not me saying that Joan Bennett and James Mason didn’t do good jobs with what they were presented as the mother and blackmailer respectively. It’s just that, for me, so much of this film lacked sense as was too easily sown up at the end. Once I was able to switch my brain off for a bit, I was able to better enjoy this interesting take on a noir film. But I am still left with a weird taste in my mouth afterwards that there was a better story here that was not explored.