What’s crucial to say about Conflict is that it’s an often overlooked entry in the noir genre. And wrongly so, because it’s definitely a disturbing and horrifying psychological thriller. With its maliciously unnerving mood and heavy, dismal cinematography, the film aspires to achieve an all-new level of anxiety.
The film is about a guilt-ridden man – Humphrey Bogart’s arguably most sinister role ever – who gradually plunges deeper and deeper into state of a devastating mental illness. Hinting at a thorough psychological evaluation in the beginning, Conflict analyzes how a fearless and brutal man – convinced that he’s just killed his innocent wife – is trapped in a vortex of clues, which might lead to a mightily shocking revelation. The more observant viewers might already be able to uncover the whole mystery in the first act, but for those who are in desperate need of a satisfying and suspenseful intrigue Conflict brings a genuinely captivating mystery.
Sydney Greenstreet – with his usual charm, sophisticated mannerism, and most-cheerful laughter – plays the smart psychoanalyst and a friend to Mr. Bogart. His skillfulness and uncanny fascination with homicide in general leads to the film’s biggest, probably most dramatic turn of events. And Bogart, with all his devilish attitude and increasing fear is as convincing (and as stylish and graceful) as he was in Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon.
Conflict is a lesser-known film noir, but it’s crucial to note that its mightily clever and disquieting premise – along with a bunch of twisted and deranged sequences – delivers a seriously thrilling melodrama that’s not to be argued with.