I feel at home in movies like The Hot Spot. They come out of that vast universe formed by the historic meeting of B movies and the idea of film noir – films about the soft underbelly of the human conscience.
There are certain conventions to be observed, and “The Hot Spot” knows them and observes them. The hero has to smoke and look laconic and be trying to suppress something in his past. It helps if he drives a Studebaker. The boss’ wife has to have learned all of her moves by studying old movies. The plot has to provide that the bad guys don’t commit all of the crimes; the hero, for example, robs the bank.