Wow, this movie really is a 101 course in right screen writing. Nothing happens that hasn't been foreshadowed in some way, yet it's never obvious. Nothing comes out of nowhere: not the photo booth, not the hiding spot, not the landlady. And the story, of one man who follows every bad choice to its worse follow-up as he slowly gets himself stuck in the quicksand, is fascinating. Too bad he gets thrown a -rather unlikely - rope in the end.
Mickey Rooney's not your typical noir hero. He's too uncomplicated: he's certainly not sweet, but he has no hidden depths. His voice-over is devoid of the usual snark, but for this movie, he's the perfect protagonist: he's enough of a jerk that you don't ming seeing him tortured - and he really is a terrible criminal, gets caught at every single thing that he does- but he's not so unlovable that you don't care about him getting out. And hey, he's redeemed when he finally turns around an learns to appreciate his sweet ex-girlfriend, and who could object to that?