Ace in the Hole

111 minutes 2013

Billy Wilder being bitter, without Billy Wilder being funny. This 1951 film, about a cynical reporter who seizes on the plight of a man trapped in a mine shaft to promote his career, is cold, lurid, and fascinating, propelled by the same combination of moral outrage and sneaky admiration that animates the paperback novels of Jim Thompson and James M. Cain. Kirk Douglas stars, and his psychotic charm is perfect for the part; Jan Sterling is unforgettable as the victim's hard-bitten wife, who's willing to go along with Douglas's scheme.

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