Sam Fuller's harsh, obsessional 1960 crime drama is narrated in the style of a comic book gone berserk. Cliff Robertson is the neurotic hero, bent on avenging his father's death by infiltrating and destroying a crime syndicate that operates under the redolent name “National Projects.” Corruption is all-pervasive in this vision of America, and Fuller disturbingly suggests that only a madman can make a difference. One image from Underworld—of a heavy striking straight at the camera—prompted Jean-Luc Godard to describe Fuller's films as “cinema-fist.” There is no more apt phrase. 99 min.
By Dave Kehr