This superb 1949 crime drama takes elements of plot, character, and theme familiar from '30s melodramas and orchestrates them as an existential tragedy noir. James Cagney, in a towering performance, is Cody Jarrett, a transparently psychotic robber with a molten temper, feral cunning, and mercurial charm that are finely calibrated extensions of the doomed gangsters he played a decade before, this time coiled not around a Depression-era impetus of greed or class rivalry, but an Oedipal bond. Cody's beloved, calculating "Ma" (Margaret Wycherly) is the compass for his every move, her iron will and long shadow acknowledged not only by Cody but by his gang, his bored, restless wife (Virginia Mayo, radiating sensuality and guile), and the undercover cop (Edmond O'Brien) planted in Jarrett's path.In other news, actor Jonah Hill recently joined Twitter and made "Punch-Drunk Love" his Movie Of The Day. You'll remember he also had "Boogie Nights" in his Top 5 so it looks like he's officially a fan.
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