31.03.2020 in Analysis
Double Indemnity

The themes utilized in Double Indemnity revolve around corruption, adultery and murder. The scenes that contribute the most to the theme are evident through the main character that is reflected on as a greedy and weak man. He finds himself in a situation where he is seduced by an evil woman. In this case, Phyllis seduces Walter who is an Insurance agent into murdering her husband with the aim of collecting his accident policy. Evidently, the murder plan is successful. However, the Phyllis and Walter begin to question each other motives. The themes are enhanced through the insurance investigation that is launched on Phyllis’s husband death. In this case, the almost perfect crime from its inception to when it falls apart plays an essential role in addressing the themes in the film.

The narrative, acting, cinematography, editing and art direction and design play major contributions to the films themes. It is evident that the story is told in a chronological manner. In this case, it is structured in a way that prevents the audience from realizing the end of the film. The story is structured in a way that engages the audience by jumping back and forth without creating an idea of when it would intersect. Additionally, flashbacks are highly used in the film. The narrative device plays an essential role in enhancing the narrative. The film’s narrative is told in form of flashbacks from Neff’s perspective. It progresses with ruthless determinism as each character meets their preordained fate. 


The actors in the film give their best performances that make the film realistic. The characters in the film change as the film progresses. Evidently, their change is viewed in relation to their character. For instance, Walter is viewed as a weak man in the beginning of the film but these changes as it progresses as the story unfolds. The same case applies with Phyllis who is viewed as a beautiful woman who later reveals her true character as the film progresses. 

The cinematography techniques that are applied in the film play a major role in enhancing the success of the film. Lighting is used as a major cinematography technique in the film. In this case, it enhances the plot by wrapping the secret crimes. It is used in a form of a narrative feature that ensures that the characters and the story are in visual form. The beginning of the film reflects on the sun that covers the City and shines through the insurance windows. Additionally, the technique plays a significant role in influencing the achievement of Walter’s shadow that is used in several scenes in the film. As a result, it becomes very difficult to distinguish the character from his shadow. It also utilizes cinematography techniques such as placing the characters in the frame is utilized throughout the film. As a result, every shot that is used has a meaning and purposes. For instance, the technique is applied in the scene where Walter first laid his eyes on Phyllis. Such a shot plays a primary role in separating the two characters in form of their status. The technique enhances the view of Walter as a hardworking man while Phyllis is viewed as a rich woman who lives off her husband’s wealth. In this case, it is evident that the cinematography techniques influence the films themes. 

The editing skills influence the themes in the film. In this case, the film is edited in a pace and tempo that allows the viewer remains entertained throughout the film and grasps the themes used in order to understand the message being portrayed. Evidently, smooth transitions are applied from one scene to another ensuring that the film remains on script and does not divert or confuse the audience. The film is composed of a scene that creates a symbolic image and bleak tone of the film. In this case, the editing was composed of a mise-en-scene and parallel cuts that create a snapshot of the whole film. The technique is evident in the scene where Walter comes from a meeting and the shot shifts to him in his apartment building corridor. Moreover, the use of music in the film plays an essential role in enhancing the overall feel of the film. The music is creatively used to complement the themes portrayed. For instance, the creative use of music is evident in the scene where Walter asks Phyllis to come over. The music comes to an abrupt end as the doorbell rings. 

The locations, props and costume also play a significant role in influencing the themes in the film. Evidently, the film revolves around Walters’s workplaces, his apartment and the city. The locations are strategically chosen to influence the themes and plot of the story. The props were carefully designed to ensure that they were realistic. However, some of the shots such as the train station and the apartment building were filmed on location. The locations, props and costumes used in the film play a major role in influencing the realistic nature of the film. Moreover, they ensure that the film gains a positive reception from the audience. 

The director’s style of a sardonic, witty, and creative descriptive dialogue is evident in several scenes in the film. The style is reflected in most scenes that reflect on hardboiled dialogues in the film. It is also reflected in the early scenes where there is dialogue between Walter and Phyllis. Evidently, the director’s style is best reflected in dialogue between Walter and Phyllis since it is composed of evocative, witty and suggestive lines. Additionally, the director’s style is portrayed throughout the film through the first person narrator approach that is incorporated throughout the film. 

The film is interesting based on the sensibility that is backed up by the perspective created by the actors who give their best performances. Evidently, the character of Phyllis is intriguing and captures the audience’s attention. In this case, her character is interesting based on the fact that her feelings towards the other characters are indifferent allowing her to use them at her leisure. Additionally, she fails to experience any sense of involvement and operates freely without feeling guilty of her actions. As a result, her character is interesting since it reflects on her evil that influences the plot of the film. Her character plays a major role in the success of the film. In this case, I found her to be so attractive both physically and how she operates throughout the film. The film is realistic making it interesting and enabling it to achieve several effects such as realism. Moreover, the film is interesting based on the atmosphere that is created using the low-lighting that influences the orchestration and realistic deeds of the characters. The reflection of her character as a beautiful woman who entraps a man with the promises of sex, money and love and ultimately betrays him makes the film. The film is also obscure through the conveyance of sharp-witted dialogues and the soundtracks. Evidently, the techniques that are applied in the film make is simpler for one to discover and uncover the journey that the director takes us on in the film.

Related essays