Well done, Ian McEwan

Michael Wood

  • The Innocent by Ian McEwan
    Cape, 231 pp, £12.95, May 1990, ISBN 0 224 02783 2

There is a scene which recurs in several of Hitchcock’s films and which could well be in all of them, since it is so central to his favourite fear. An innocent man is discovered in a situation that makes him look hopelessly, undeniably guilty: the corpse in his arms, the knife in his hand. His innocence is both unquestionable (for us) and unbelievable (as far as everyone in the movie is concerned). This man has been framed by appearances, as we all could be; innocence is no defence, innocence doesn’t stand a chance.

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