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Double Indemnity: Summary of the Film Plot

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Double Indemnity 1994

Summary of the Plot

Double Indemnity is a film that narrates an exciting tale of seduction, greed, murder, and betrayal. In the movie, an insurance salesman attempts to assist a young woman to murder her husband to obtain insurance money. The insurance salesman is having an affair with the young woman who intends to kill her husband. Upon the death of the young woman’s husband, the insurance salesman’s best friend, and an insurance analyst suspects that the murder could have been planned by the young woman. The film ends when the young woman is also shot dead and the insurance salesman wounded in a confrontation. The insurance salesman confesses their plans to his old friend before he collapses and dies before fleeing to Mexico (Double Indemnity, 1994).

The Characters

The main casts in the movie are Walter Neff, who is the insurance salesman that plans to get insurance money by murdering a young woman’s husband. Phyllis Dietrichson is the young woman who plans the murder together with Neff. Barton Keyes is Walter’s old friend whom he dictates to his confession about the murder of Mr. Dietrichson (Double Indemnity, 1994).

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Film Techniques

Double Indemnity is a brought out as a thriller film as depicted by the thrilling scenes of a well-handled murder and those of suspense that fills the tale. Suspense is used in the movie at the scene where Neff is hiding in the back of the car. Again, the scene when the gateway car is unable to start is also almost unbearable. Additionally, the scenes on the train create a lot of suspense to the viewers of the film.

Double indemnity is well sculpted by light as opposed to some black and white films. The general tone of the movie is set by the opening sequence and the credits. The lighting techniques used in the film give room for Walter’s shadow to take an unusual and meaningful space within the frame; thus acting as a menace. The shadow represents Walter’s guilty consciousness that follows him in his entire life.


Just as the title of the film goes, “Double Indemnity” is based on themes that reflect the true meaning of the movie’s name. The themes of betrayal and murder reflect a double loss that Mr. Dietrichson experiences in one setting. The theme of betrayal can be noted in the film when Phyllis Dietrichson is having an affair with the insurance agent. Again, the theme of betrayal is evident when the young woman agrees to murder her husband so that they can get the insurance money.

The double indemnity is also reflected when both Mrs. and Mrs.Dietrichson ends up dying because of the betrayal of one unfaithful partner. The murder of Mr. Dietrichson leads to a confrontation that sees Phyllis shot dead despite having completed her mission. Moreover, the insurance salesman dies after making a confession to his old friend about the incidence (Double Indemnity, 1994).

Analysis of Important Parts of the Film

The murder of the husband to Phyllis would bring the young woman a double indemnity insurance compensation. The actual events in the movie bring out the film as a homicidal melodrama that is based on sexual insinuations. The director of the film, through his careful planning and well pacing of events, with some scenes of dark humor and suspense, produced a rational crime accomplishment (Double Indemnity, 1994).


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