“Double Indemnity” is a movie that non merely explores the mentality of Walter Neff. but besides the mentality of the United States in the fortiess. Both are punctuated by a dejected. pessimistic mentality. and both feel victim to factors beyond their control: Walter’s a victim of Phyllis. and the U. S. was a victim of the Great Depression and the Second World War. Billy Wilder explores these subjects in “Double Indemnity” through a assortment of tools. one of which is the movie technique of voice-over.
First of all. the usage of voice-over allows for the film to be told chiefly as a flashback. The film. basically. starts at the terminal: the get downing involves Walter squealing to the offense we are about to see him perpetrate. This enforces a theme cardinal to the movie noir genre: fatalism. Before the bulk of secret plan Begins. Walter has already lost to destine. No affair what we see in the flashback. we know that he’s traveling to be revealed as a felon. This sense of loss to destine reflects the heartsick tone of both Walter and of American civilization at that clip in our history. If the film had started from the beginning of the secret plan. non utilizing the voiceover technique. we would non hold this sense of preconceived surrender.
Second. the voice-over allows us to understand Walter’s ideas at different points throughout the film. This is of import because our intent in watching the film is to measure Walter’s mind. We already know he committed the slaying right from the beginning. so our primary concern is so to understand why he committed the slaying. We get glances of his concluding through his voice-over. For illustration. Walter walks out on Phyllis after she originally suggests that they commit the slaying together.
This makes it look as though he is non interested in cabaling with her. His ideas. nevertheless. uncover his existent outlooks. This is what he states in a voiceover: “And right so it came over me that I hadn’t walked out on anything at all. that the hook was excessively strong. that this wasn’t the terminal between her and me. It was merely the beginning. ” This sentiment non merely reveals that he is really be aftering to work with Phyllis. but besides his true feeling of weakness and entry to Phyllis’ control. This feeling of entry is something that could non be as clearly conveyed if we did non hold the position into Walter’s head that the voiceover provides.
Last. the voice-over contributes to the moral ambiguity of the supporter. Walter. Because he has a opportunity to explicate himself. in a manner that is brooding of his ain subjective positions. he becomes more complex as a character ; he is non a planar scoundrel who is strictly evil. On the contrary. the voiceover reveals ideas that allow us to understand Walter more. and therefore be more sympathetic to his state of affairs. For illustration. as stated above. the voiceover conveys the weakness that Walter feels as a consequence of Phyllis. This sense of weakness makes Walter look more morally equivocal. because it paints him as a sort of victim to Phyllis’ appeal. This moral ambiguity besides represents the American mentality at a clip in our history when citizens were no longer sure of what was right and what was incorrect.
These are merely a few of many effects that the voiceover produces in the movie. Since “Double Indemnity” is chiefly an geographic expedition of the head of Walter Neff. it would be a farce without the usage of voiceover. It is the flashback that sets the sense of fatalism for the movie. and it’s the voiceover that allows us to understand Walter’s thought. therefore obliging us to comprehend him as a many-sided individual. Overall. the voiceover allows for us to see into Walter’s outlook. and that penetration into his outlook. non the secret plan. is the nucleus of the film. Concurrently. we are given an apprehension of the downcast American civilization that it represents. Thankss to the voiceover. the subjects of the film come out and uncover to us truths about Walter Neff and the cultural attitudes that influenced his divergence from normal society.