...The sense that something crucial has gone missing really pervades the film, which turns disappointingly mechanistic following a crackerjack opening (everything involving the cake). As Glenn [Kenny] astutely notes, Lang works hard to compensate with pure style, but claustrophobic framing only takes you so far. The Third Man and The Fallen Idol are gut punches; Ministry of Fear, its title notwithstanding, remains unfailingly polite.
It's a magnificently skewed way of handling [Neale and Carla's kiss], and as the centerpiece of the film's romantic thread, their brief exchange casts tantalizing questions. After all, what is her inner life? We know next to nothing about her, and all she knows about Neale is that he's wanted for murder... and that by his own admission, he just got out of a mental asylum for mercy-killing his last wife. Yet here she is, like a cockeyed angel, drawn to him with understanding and devotion.