It’s a neo-noir crime thriller about a thief (Lee Marvin), double-crossed and left for dead, who comes back for revenge. It’s very stylized, which is one of the things I loved most about it.
Due to its unconventional filmic style, much has been written about the idea that the movie is a dream of a dying man. In addition to that, some people theorize that Marvin’s character Walker is perhaps a ghost—the strongest evidence being that he doesn’t actually kill anyone. I find all of this interesting, but ultimately I’m fine with no definitive answer.
My perspective is that movies are dream-like by nature; they’re poetry not reality. I don’t think the best question to ask of a movie is “What really happened?” I think a better question is “What was my personal experience?” In fact, the films I seem to enjoy most these days are the ones where filmmakers forgo reality/logic to create a visceral feeling or mood.
Two more examples of movies I believe transcend their genre because of this poetic approach:
Look at High Plains Drifter: Why does nobody recognize that Clint Eastwood’s character looks exactly like the former town marshal? Look at Halloween: How does Michael Myers appear and disappear so suddenly?
These stylistic choices are not for us to understand but to FEEL; it’s not the logic but the emotion that’s important.
What movies do you like that have this dreamy/poetic feel I’m talking about?