Four men, desperate for a job, volunteer to transport two truck loads of nitroglycerine across the rugged rough South American roads. The nitroglycerine is needed ASAP to cap off an erupting oil well that has already taken a number of lives. The job is perilous and no one expects the drivers to make it alive. Driven by the need for money and lack of employment, the men face their fears for the sake of a better life.
This is one of those classic old films that takes about thirty minutes to get into. The slow paced introduction of characters at first is boring but inevitably enriches the story, slowly building to its explosive climax.
As with most old black and whites it's the characters that make the movie. Four completely different men work together to delicately navigate the jungle roads. One man is an ex-gangster looking to prove himself. Another is an ex-POW who was enslaved in the salt mines resulting in an intense and quiet persona. The main character is a playboy looking for a way out and the money from the job is his exit. His roommate is last driver and just before signing up found out he has lung cancer.
The film has a very unique and original method of creating suspense. Just imagine riding down a horrible dirt road with a ton of explosives on your ass. One wrong move, one bad bump and it's all over.
Long and slow The Wages of Fear is unlike any suspense movie I have ever seen. This 1950s French thriller was an exciting random watch. For anyone with a taste for the sleeper classic and the nerves for suspense...pick this one up.