Suspects – David Thomson (No Exit 2007)

Suspects – David Thomson (No Exit 2007)


Do you ever wonder about the lives of people in movies after – or even before – you see them onscreen? Well David Thomson, film critic and author of many books on cinema, has written a series of short biographies of many film characters providing them with expanded and alternative histories.


From Rick Blaine in Casablanca to Jake Gittes in Chinatown, from Kay Corleone in The Godfather to George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, an interweaving of characters soon emerges and it becomes obvious that there’s a more going on than simply a series of well-written and imagined biographies.


As protagonists from different movies appear in others’ lives we see that the narrator is a famous movie character whose presence ties the vignettes together.


This is a book that will be very appealing to film buffs because of its originality and scope – covering 50 movies and 80 characters. Thomson’s pithy, aphoristic writing are very enjoyable and it is, on a deeper level, a study of identity and the construction of self. It can also be read simply as a fascinating take on the shadowy, illusory images whose lives we share in the dark of the cinema.


Review submitted by “The Troubadour”.