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::. The Quintessential™ Neo-Noir thread .::

::. The Quintessential™ Neo-Noir thread .::

 
Old 06-03-03, 02:48 AM
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::. The Quintessential™ Neo-Noir thread .::

I don't believe it and i betcha you dont believe this is happening either!
So pick up your fedora(or nike cap), button up(or down) and let's go to work....


-------------------------------------------------------
{FILM NOIR}

The term film noir was coined by the french critics in the 60s to describe those Hollywood films of the '40s and early '50s which portrayed the dark and gloomy underbelly of a world of crime and corruption, films whose heroes as well as villains are cynical, disillusioned, and often insecure loners, unable to escape the past and unsure even apathetic about the future. They were dubbed film noir by analogy with roman noir, the label used to describe the American "hard-boiled" detective fiction by the writers like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler or James M. Cain that provided source material for these films and that was published in the "Série Noire" line of books launched in 1945 by the Gallimard publishing house.

~MEN WITHOUT A FUTURE AND WOMEN WITH A PAST....~

But that was that.

::. {NEO-NOIR} .::
20 years down the road we begin to see a spate of films that attempted to recapture its arresting visual style or narrative; Be it a post-moderrn revisionist study or a slavish attempt at reproduction. All of us have different inclinations to whether film noir is a genre or movement. That would not be resolved here. Instead let me propose that we should be unified in our common goal at paying hommage to the beloved genre(or.... ). And therefore..... *Its paramount that we extend the term Neo-Noir to a wider scope to encompass the contemporay adaptations of Noir elements instead.

-------------------------------------------------------

And NOW, in the year 2003 @DVDTalk.com we have coined the term NEO-NOIR!!!! ya rite.


Heh heh... Shall we begin the listings?
~Please let me know if its NOT available (or OOP or when its going to be available) on DVD.
~PLEASE include a short description how it's related to film noir or what elements it bears.... Afterall, these are meant to be recommendations.
~And oh. Keep ONE title to a line.


Always on Active Update!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
::. { NEO-Noir on dvd } .::
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[list=1][*] Blood Simple [*] Brown's Requiem [*] Chinatown [*] City of Industry [*] Dark City (Visionary film, Noir + Sci-Fi thriller!) [*] Devil In a Blue Dress [*] Harper [*] Heat [*] L.A. Confidential [*] Le Samouraï (How Noir WOULD look if shot in the DAY & muted colors) [*] Memento [*] Mulholland Falls [*] The Man Who Wasn't There (Coens' deadpan-humor take on Raymond Chandler) [*] The Usual Suspects[/list=1]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last edited by blessthemess; 06-03-03 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 06-03-03, 03:17 AM
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Heat
Thief
Chinatown
L.A. Confidential
Devil In A Blue Dress
Brown's Requiem
Harper
The Drowning Pool
Dark City
Mulholland Falls


Re-edited to conform to the one title per line policy...

Last edited by Buck Turgidson; 06-03-03 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 06-03-03, 05:10 AM
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1st update!
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Old 06-03-03, 09:42 AM
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Blade Runner
Se7en
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Old 06-03-03, 09:49 AM
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Angel Heart
Blue Velvet
Dead Again
Mulholland Drive
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Old 06-03-03, 10:08 AM
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It seems to me that a simple list of flicks w/o a commentary on what Noir elements they embody or why they are neo-noir offers little value. For example, take Heat, Mulholland Drive, or Seven...what makes these neo-noir?
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Old 06-03-03, 10:10 AM
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THE LAST SEDUCTION
ONE FALSE MOVE
STORMY MONDAY
A SIMPLE PLAN
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Old 06-03-03, 10:17 AM
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Minority Report. One man who can't escape the past fighting to prevent the future.
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Old 06-03-03, 10:20 AM
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Originally posted by audrey
It seems to me that a simple list of flicks w/o a commentary on what Noir elements they embody or why they are neo-noir offers little value. For example, take Heat, Mulholland Drive, or Seven...what makes these neo-noir?
Everyone knows my feelings about "neo-noir", so I don't want to get too involved here. But I've got to agree with audrey. If every modern crime film is "neo-noir", then the term doesn't really mean anything.

That said, any list of "neo-noir" on DVD (and good luck because this list is going to be obscenely long) could not be complete without "Miller's Crossing", which is basically a re-working of "The Glass Key".

jim
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Old 06-03-03, 10:25 AM
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I have a hard time with films like Muholland Drive as "neo noir". Noir mostly dealt with crime/detective/mystery films. Drive is just a mindf$%^k of a film.

Films like Chinatown, LA Confidential fit the bill.
I just don't see it Muholland Drive.
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Old 06-03-03, 12:38 PM
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i suppose Lynch lights his sets in THAT manner. Heh.

Yep. A policier is a policier. Gotta separate crime films(unless they bear noir-related narratives) from noir....

But let's get those descriptions in. For every title, let's state what makes it noir-ish. i'll include in the short descriptions in the main list. Serves as a better method at recommendations too!

~~~What better way of understanding the elements of noir by talking about neo-noir!!!


Last edited by blessthemess; 06-03-03 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 06-03-03, 02:01 PM
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Perhaps the problem is that people don't know what elements a noir film or believe that noir is more of a mood than story structure.

I also agree that debating whether noir is a genre or not is fruitless. Perhaps a better ideas is simply list elements of noir for people to review and comment on. Then add the list to the header. I took this list from The Dark World of Film Noir by Timothy Perry as a starting point:

Elements of Film Noir

1. Everyman caught up in trouble/fate
2. The Femme Fatale
3. The sense of all-impending doom
4. Destroyed by love a.k.a being played for a sucker
5. Down and out people looking for a quick score
6. The loner escaping from his past
7. The past catching up with someone
8. Greed
9. The double-cross
10. Vengeful gangster and his gang
11. Hardened Cops
12. Things are not what they seem
13. The McGuffin
14. The Big Payoff

To that list I would add:

15. Music that doesn't put you at ease
16. Strident lighting (not soft lighting)
17. Shadows
18. Man seeing his inner self (the unblinking mirror)
19. Man/woman making the same mistake again
20. The duality of images and elements and people. For example, the common elements between criminal and cop.


Clearly, few (if any) noir films have all of these elements. Consider this list a group of elements that may be present not 'must' be present to be noir.

To the list I would add Insomnia (1997). If the film was shot at night it would probably be on many lists as a noir thriller. Described by the director as a blanc (white) noir - the film has these noir elements:

Man caught by his (near) past catching up with him.
Shadows and harsh lighting
Hardened cops
Impending doom
Man seeing his inner self
Common elements between criminal and detective
Discordant camera focus and camera framing angles
Harsh light
Moody, on edge music

I would also agree with Gamblor, noir is not simply a murder mystery or crime film or even a murder/mystery crime film it needs to be more.

Insomnia could be viewed as a crime film except it has more to give. View the scenes in his bedroom of the protagonist trying to get to sleep and pretend it is night and outside noise is now bothing him. Or even better, view the scene with the young woman at the check-in desk of his small hotel. You know that something is happening between them. Notice the common elements between the killer and the detective - are they so different? These elements transcends the crime story and become the essence of noir.
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Old 06-03-03, 03:02 PM
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Originally posted by ctyankee
Elements of Film Noir

1. Everyman caught up in trouble/fate
3. The sense of all-impending doom
7. The past catching up with someone
9. The double-cross
11. Hardened Cops
12. Things are not what they seem
13. The McGuffin
14. The Big Payoff
15. Music that doesn't put you at ease
16. Strident lighting (not soft lighting)
17. Shadows
18. Man seeing his inner self (the unblinking mirror)
20. The duality of images and elements and people. For example, the common elements between criminal and cop.
Since I nominated Se7en, I'll just state that I believe it has the elements above. Unfortunately, I can't speak too intelligently on the movie since I've only seen half of it, back when it first came out (it upset my wife so much that we had to leave halfway through), but from what I remember, it fits pretty clearly into the noir mold.
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Old 06-03-03, 03:26 PM
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I’m not knocking the list noir elements, but by my reckoning The Sting embodies at least 9 of these (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14) and it clearly is not neo-noir or even noirish. While I do agree that there are some common elements and themes to Noir, I also believe that noir tends to evoke certain moods. I don’t believe one can just tally the list to calculate a noir-factor.
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Old 06-03-03, 03:39 PM
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Body Heat - How could this not be mentioned yet??

1. Everyman caught up in trouble/fate
2. The Femme Fatale
3. The sense of all-impending doom
4. Destroyed by love a.k.a being played for a sucker
5. Down and out people looking for a quick score
6. The loner escaping from his past
8. Greed
9. The double-cross
12. Things are not what they seem
14. The Big Payoff
16. Strident lighting (not soft lighting)
17. Shadows
19. Man/woman making the same mistake again

It definitely has all of those and arguably a few that I left off.

and to a lesser extent, the Wachowski Brother's only great film, Bound, which arguably contains all of the following

2. The Femme Fatale
3. The sense of all-impending doom
4. Destroyed by love a.k.a being played for a sucker
5. Down and out people looking for a quick score
7. The past catching up with someone
8. Greed
9. The double-cross
10. Vengeful gangster and his gang
12. Things are not what they seem
13. The McGuffin
14. The Big Payoff
15. Music that doesn't put you at ease
20. The duality of images and elements and people. For example, the common elements between criminal and cop.
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Old 06-03-03, 03:57 PM
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The Grifters
Croupier
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Old 06-03-03, 03:59 PM
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Old 06-03-03, 04:15 PM
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One of my fave Neo-Noirs is RED ROCK WEST. Great stuff!
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Old 06-03-03, 04:49 PM
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Klute
The Long Goodbye
Chinatown
The Conversation
Farewell, My Lovely
Night Moves
The Late Show
Body Heat
Insomnia
The Postman Always Rings Twice
Blade Runner
Against All Odds
Blood Simple
Blue Velvet
Black Widow
After Dark, My Sweet
The Grifters
The Hot Spot
Wild at Heart
Dead Again
Red Rock West
The Last Seduction
Se7en
The Usual Suspects
Bound
Johnny Handsome
L.A. Confidential
Dark City
Memento
The Man Who Wasn't There
Mulholland Dr.
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Old 06-04-03, 02:34 AM
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Like I've written here before, noir is more of a style and feel to me. I don't want to get into a big talmudic hairsplitting argument over what is and isn't covered by the term. I think the criteria and choices laid out by Gamblor are dead on, and I accept them fully. What constitutes neo-noir, or noirish or noir tinged...that's up to each person. I'm like Potter Stewart: I know it when I see it.

As an aside, I think we can agree that anything based on Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain or Jim Thompson is going to get a solid pass, automatically. Even odd stuff like Altman's take on The Long Goodbye, (despised as soft hippieness by purists, even though Marlowe is more ruthless in it than in the novel) would count.

Since Heat has been singled out several times, let me endeavor to explain what makes it fit, for me. First, I should point out that James Walcott, who is smarter and a better writer than I am, used the terms "L.A. Noir" and "classic noir" in describing it a few months ago in his excellent appreciation in the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair.

But more directly it has these elements:

A story centering around crime and the moral ambiguities that it brings to the surface. Those are myriad and too numerous to mention, but here's one big one- The fact that Deniro and Pacino's character's are very, very much alike. Fate has put them on a collicion course, but they could easily have been friends and partners, on one side or the other.


A rather bleak and cynical worldview. Even Pacino, the nominal good guy, is a rotten husband (and he knows it) and is really only fit to do the one thankless job he does. Deniro has essentially wasted his formidible intelligence and character in a dangerous and fruitless quest for money, and many innocent peoiple have died along the way. Also, the Dennis Haysbert character never gets a chance to go straight, like he'd like to. Presented with an impossible chioce, he picks one.

The very look is important. Lots of dark streets and narrow alleys. Deniro's crew has money, but they're never really comfortable and mostly don't really want to be. Long dark streets, often wet, are a Michael Mann trademark, and they're much in evidence here. There are day scenes, but this movie mostly moves at night.

It's all of these elements and many more that lead me to use the term for Heat. I don't think it's nearly as bizarre as some folks do, but that's just me.

If I had listed Ali or Last of the Mohicans, then you could have poiinted at your temple, made a circular motion and the "cuckoo" sound.
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