Double indemnity – Insurance crime

Double indemnity

A claims man, is a doctor and a blood-hound and a cop and a judge and a jury and a father confessor, all in one. – Barton Keyes.
I coorelate the experience of watching a thriller as standing in the doorway of an express train. And, I can equate the twists in a thriller equal to the passing bridges. It’s thrill! The two most inconvincible professionals are tax auditors and insurance clearance agents. It’s not only the attribute of police to investigate a crime but also for an insurance officer. There are few films associated where the crime is based on insurance. I remember one Tamil movie which followed this theme – Kei Niraya kaasu with Nagesg acted in dual roles.

Double Indemnity – 1944/Thriller
Adapted & Directed: Billy Wilder
Based on a novel by John Cain.


The entire story is narrated by Walter Neff, a charming insurance agent. Phyllis is rich man’s wife who happens to meet Neff once in her home. They slowly develop a friendship and gets into a relation. They get slowly into a dangerous and an almost perfect plan to murder the rich man. In turn, they plan to get the insurance money and lead a new life.

The plan looks easy but complicated as much as a big mess. Neff’s boss Barton Keyes, an outstanding insurance investigator who has a little guy inside him [intuition] leading him to crack any great case. With these elements, what happens is the plot for a perfect thriller. The story moves in flashbacks from Neff’s view and involves the clash of different fates of all the characters involved. That makes this movie a super thriller.


Alfred Hitchcock movies were the eye opener for me, which stated that black & white movies were not slow movies. There are certain films which move at the speed of a bullet train [ Tamil example : Gilli ]. There are many examples of this genre.. Spellbound(1945), The killing(1956), Strangers on a train are few to quote for now. This film is a classic example of a fast executed script.

The BGM is an inevitable part of storytelling – even I remember we used to narrate the action films with sounds and BGM.. In fact, even when we fight in childhood we make sounds [ Dishaaal, Dishyum 🙂 ]. That’s the power of BGM. This movie got the perfect BGM which enhances the thrill and increases our temptation to look for what happens next.

I liked the light and shadows part of this thriller. More’shadows’ are used in this film to represent the darkness of the events involved in the story. Somehow, this movie resembles ‘the strangers on a train’. The best part is the characterization of Barton Keyes. He is one of the sparkling and brilliant characters in the story. His dialogues are rally outstanding and soundly convincing. That’s the reason I used his dialogue as quoted in the beginning.


A perfect thriller for a Saturday night movie time.

It wasn’t an accident.. it wasn’t a suicide.. What it was then ?


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