Sunset Boulevard is in my opinion a brilliant work of writing and cinematography. This film is done mainly in one big flashback of the main character Joe Gillis’s life. Joe himself in a first person point of view does the narrative as he narrates in voiceover of his dead body lying in a pool. The film’s story begins with Joe’s death and gains momentum by recounting his life leading up to his death, then finally ending the flashback and reverting to its present timeline.
What made this movie so great was the constructive writing involved that created the film as suspenseful and mysterious. The value that makes Sunset Boulevard stand out from the rest of the movies during this time period is that it was a film that references the very medium of the film industry. It is a film that involves characters trying to make a film. Which indeed made his movie a whole lot more interesting. The film played on the “Hollywood idea” and toyed with a way to make the Hollywood lifestyle a romantic idea but instead cynically dark. The cinematography took on a film noir approach, which I personally enjoy. Many shots, especially with the character Norma, who would eventually conduct the murder of Joe was mostly filmed in a dark setting with a light emphasizing her eyes throughout the movie.
In Sunset Boulevard, the first shot plainly focuses on the title “Sunset Boulevard” on the street. Instead of choosing to film a bright light sign of the same title. Which would indeed commonly be associated with in that area. The Filmmakers decided instead to show the title literally near a gutter with debris and dead leaves. This one shot alone shadows the character Norma Desmond. Who once was a famous silent movie actress that lived in glamor, now lives in isolation and her reputation forgotten by fans.