The big kill

I decided a while ago to get a good working understanding of noir fiction, which among other things means to read the classics. The lady in the lake was entertaining. This one… well, this one was not good.

The end was ridiculously, portentously, absurd. It would have made a cute joke in an early Woody Allen movie, I think. The one liners get old rather quickly, although I suppose they may have been a bit of a novelty back when. It is funny how the over the top language that is used throughout Sin City ended up not being a caricature but rather very close to what we have here. 

All the dames fall for Mike Hammer, the hero of Mickey Spillane’s novels. They fall just because that’s how it is, which makes the tale rather silly, a not particularly clever wish fulfillment adolescent fantasy of sorts. And the writing is quite pedestrian.

There is more violence than in other noir stories I had read. I now believe the explicit violence, nothing too unusual by today’s standards, was actually a selling point for Spillane’s pulps. There is also a lot of anger; Mike is so angry all the time that you fear he’ll end up hospitalized with a serious ulcer. He does not. It would have been a better ending. 

In any case, it was entertaining for what it was, but clearly Raymond Chandler is much better writer than Mickey Spillane.

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