Verbinski’s characters—his worlds—are loopy and sometimes it seems as though the stuffing is coming out at the seams. Characters teeter on the edge of our world, sometimes falling off into bizarre other-worlds where there exist things like the fanged feral rabbits in "The Lone Ranger," or, really, whole swathes of the fourth "Pirates" film.
One thing that struck me the second time around was the arrangement of actors during the blackmail-over-breakfast scene, when Tracy attempts to squeeze Alice. It wasn't just that it looked familiar, but that the dynamic among the characters was familiar, too. It's an arrangement that's repeated in a few times in "Blackmail."
Marcello’s obsession to appear “normal” leads him to volunteer to keep an eye on an old professor, Quadri. Labelled a subversive, Quadri has moved to Paris with his young wife, Anna. With fascist efficiency, Marcello combines this mission with his honeymoon.