Confidential Report (Mr. Arkadin)

Substitute Metallica for the mile-a-minute dialogue in this breathlessly paced Welles thriller, and Confidential Report (Mr. Arkadin) just might pass for an arty film-school music video. The knotty plot in Confidential Report hinges on the lost youth of the title character, Welles’ enigmatic financier-amnesia victim, though the ostensibly dramatic ending is blown because director-screenwriter-star Welles splashes it all over the movie’s opening frames. Welles seduces the viewer by fostering a we-are-all-actors-together camaraderie that recalls earlier and greater pictures, and he whips the camera around in an expressionist frenzy, lunging for every morsel of grotesquerie he can find, from papier-mache bats to festival masks. Criterion’s laserdisc (which includes no supplementary material) is the first U.S. video release of this Anglo-Spanish coproduction’s European edit — the one Welles preferred for its fidelity to the flashback story structure of his original cut. A-

Confidential Report (Mr. Arkadin)
  • Movie
  • 93 minutes