• Tobias Liberman

Review - Casablanca

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”

Casablanca is an American black and white talkie from 1942 about two former lovers meeting up for the first time in years under very peculiar circumstances. The film stars Humphrey Bogart (Rick Blaine), Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa Lund), Paul Henreid (Victor Laszlo), Claude Rains (Captain Renault), and is directed by Michael Curtiz. 

Casablanca starts off with the Casablanca police department shooting down a man after trying to escape police custody. This moment is what sets the stakes for the film.

The next scene in the film then shows our protagonist, Rick Blaine, having various interactions in his bar, which introduces us, the audience, to various characters, their goals, and their personalities. This is all done in a way that doesn’t feel forced. In fact, one of the beautiful things about Casablanca is the fact that it makes everything happening on screen (pacing, exposition, character development, etc.) look so easy, while in fact those elements are ridiculously hard to do well. Another example of this trait is just how perfectly the film shows Rick and Ilsa’s past, using some perfectly crafted flashbacks which effortlessly give us all the exposition we need whilst not taking up a large chunk of the runtime. 

Casablanca is a film considered by many cinephiles to be a masterpiece in movie-making, yet one of the crucial aspects often overlooked in the film are the performances. Casablanca has some masterful acting that truly makes the audience feel like they are watching a genuine narrative unfolding before them. The realism they carry is extraordinary, and it is one of the puzzle pieces that helps this film be whole. 

Some people disregard black and white films due to their lack of color, but Casablanca knocks those beliefs out of the ballpark. The movie contains some truly astounding shots and honestly beautiful cinematography overall. It may even be one of the greatest looking films ever made. Impeccable work from the legend Arthur Edeson (The Invisible Man, Frankenstein). 

The screenplay belonging to the film is also quite fantastic in the sense that the lines within its pages carry memorability exclusive to few films. Essentially, the film is quotable beyond belief, and many phrases or lines in the screenplay have actually inspired entire movies on their own. When movies are quotable, one can only assume that the lines within them pack a punch and stick with the audience throughout the runtime, proving Casablanca’s screenplay to be one of the best there is. 

Based on what we’ve said leading up to this point, it is undeniable that Casablanca has many amazing aspects in its filmmaking, but perhaps the greatest thing about it, in regards to the film’s content, is Rick’s perfectly crafted character arc, which shows him go from a man with no hope for the world to being a true hero. His pessimistic outlook on life is turned around masterfully in a film that is truly just outstanding in every sense of the word.

Overall, Casablanca is a timeless classic that anyone who is even remotely interested in the art of film should watch. 

We don’t say this very often, but Casablanca is a perfect film from practically every point of view, and we here at The CinemaScope of course recommend it to all of our readers and give it our highest score.


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