Conclusion: Though not as celebrated as Orson Welles' two previous films, The Stranger is a crucial part of the director's filmography, proving he could create a commercial success without (fully) sacrificing his artistic integrity. It's a slick, thematically substantial post-war thriller, and it holds up well next to some of the best noir films of its day.
Excerpt: You’re in trouble the moment the opening credits give you a headache. As The Stranger begins, we see Stone Cold Steve Austin (Grizzly Adams beard and all) running down the street from some of the worst SWAT team members ever. Grating music blares in the background, while the camera swings side to side blurring lights, objects, and people. The entire thing feels like an exercise in patience, one in which most people will fail… miserably.
Conclusion: I need to take a shower right about now. Maybe two in a row. I want to get this feeling off of me. This feeling that I may never again see a good film. I may sound melodramatic to you, but imagine if you just had a near-death experience. That's how my cinematic tastebuds feel right about now. 'The Stranger' is so very, very bad, in so many, many ways. This disc is packed with trailers for equally awful films, video that fails, and audio that is pretty damn ho-hum.
Conclusion: The Stranger is pretty much the epitome of the straight-to-video Action film. It's not all that good, but it's a serviceable movie that's best enjoyed with no expectations and on a rainy day when there's nothing better to do. Although it's a bit hard to follow, it's technically sound given the time constraints and low budget, and the action is decent enough for what it is: 90 minutes of a bloodied "Stone Cold" Steve Austin running around and beating people up.
Conclusion: The Stranger is a fascinating film for any number of reasons. Welles managed to subtly interject his directorial genius here without completely blowing himself out of the water as he did on The Magnificent Ambersons . But the film is really a prescient piece of political philosophizing, ably prophesying both the McCarthy era and that weird complacency that is part and parcel of the Eisenhower years.