What is it with coincidence? Without it, movies could barely function: of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Bogart’s place has to be the one into which Ingrid Bergman walks. His liquorish rant against the odds of her doing so is a clever trick from the writers of “Casablanca”: it drains her arrival of silly contrivance and floods it, instead, with a sense of damnable romantic destiny. The big screen is crucial if that trick is to succeed: watch a Fritz Lang thriller like “The Woman at the Window” or “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” on DVD and you find yourself scoffing at the unlikely curves and switches in the plot, whereas the same setups, viewed in the dreamy imprisonment of a movie theatre, feel like the machinery of fate. Every film attracts doubt, but the great ones stretch beyond our reason.
Anthony Lane, New Yorker