Noir themes


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Noir themes

  1. 1. Noir By Regan Mulcahy
  2. 2. What is film noir? Noir films are often overly complex quick passed scenarios, almost always involved with crime and gangs aimed at an adult audience. The films purpose is to create a almost mind-blowing are filled with holes that need to bee filled. They drew their inspiration from actual crime of the 1920‟s to the late 1950‟s.
  3. 3. The First Grate Noir? Possibly the first Noir film was not French but a German film, it was a two part film who was a drug lord mastermind and was directed by Fritz Lang who later went on to make the infamous noir science fiction movie „Metropolis‟. Though the film was considered a flop.
  4. 4. Another Classic… One of the first very successful films was „underworld‟; the film is about a gangster trying to rehabilitate his friend. However problems arise when he falls for his friend‟s girl. This is a classic noir film with often the dame being the root of all problems.
  5. 5. “Keep the change; you filthy animal” In 1938, the noir film “Angels with dirty faces”, directed b Michael Curtiz, is another exemplary display of noir, starting with the ambiguous crime as the after math of his essential crime. This film inspired a multitude of pop culture witch is shown in an episode od Batman: The Animated series in “Its Never To Late”. As well as been used in the critically acclaimed “Home Alone” franchise, which elements created the a spoof of the film “angels with filthy souls” and created the iconic phrase; “Keep the change you filthy animal”.
  6. 6. Orson Welles In the 1950‟s Orson Welles, maker of the infamous “War of the Worlds”, created a classic known as “A touch of evil‟, a stark perverse story of murder, kidnapping and police corruption in a Mexican border town, a very much a classic noir film.
  7. 7. Common Characters In Noir The typical noir film is unlike any other genre with their strong men with morals and innocent girls they have confused, gullible, rash men who are played like puppets by manipulating back widows of which they crave. The genre has many iconic characters that still hold up by today‟s standards, with films like “Drive” continuing the genres characters.
  8. 8. The Anti-Hero Protagonist/The Private Eye Typically in noir films your main character is either a detective/cop playing by his own rules to get the villain and save the girl often meeting with a bitter end. This character is often a private eye with a trench coat, fedora and a dangling cigarette. He is one of the few things relatable to a hero in noir films as he is an often courageous “though guy‟ who shows impeccable physical capability‟s from fighting, to endurance chasing and is often accompanied by a loyal male partner and is often infamous for his taste in women.
  9. 9. The Femme Fatale She is the black widow of the noir franchise. She often has a dark past that has made her grown to despise men and think very little of them. She knows that she wants and she knows how to get it, through any means often enticing then with an exhale of a cigarette. She is never as she seems and is often introduced emerging from darkness often to indicate the instability in her mind.
  10. 10. The Noir Criminal and/or Psychopath This is no typical roiled up brash all talk guy; they are elegant so to speak, riddled with riddles. Especially in the later noirs, it went from a change or syndicate to a single person bored of the current way of life. The psychopath is often very complex who often only finds please out of destruction and the delight of causing pain to others especially the protagonist and plays mind games with then, even going as far to kill the love interest. (E.G. Kevin Spacey from the neo-noir Se7en)
  11. 11. The Female Victim Unlike the femme fatale she is in genuine distress, often with paranoia and is often strange and behaving irregular when the protagonist meets her. She often has little relevance to the story herself, but she works as a good way to continue the plot.
  12. 12. The Male Victim Then there are the „others‟ characters that accidentally end up in scenarios enticed by the prospect of money or women often through the flirty enticement of the femme fatale. Often weak willed and easily duped by the femme fatale.
  13. 13. The Rouge Cop A figure trained to kill; skilled in covering up his tracks, this figure often a high-ranking officer is a corrupt sleaze ball who turns his head for a quick buck.
  14. 14. Noir Sub-Genres Neo-noir is a sub-genre of noir films, they are still noir films following the mise-en-scene, characters etc. of noir films, but are not in the time period, they come after the 1950‟s+ of noir films. Films like this include “Brick” which is a neo-noir take on a crime, love, tragedy story. Others such as “Zodiac”(2007) in where a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an armature detective obsessed with tracking down the zodiac killer. Then there are foreign neo-noirs such as the South Korean movie “Mother” about a mother searching desperately to find the killer that framed her son for murder.
  15. 15. The Re Invention Of NoirQuentin Tarantino This film director, producer and actor has created numerous neonoir style films. His films such as Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Bastards, Reservoir Dogs etc. The features of noir he uses is the long civilized conversations between 2 or more of the characters; talking for up to 10 minutes resulting in the eventual climax of violence an aspect also found in classic noir films such as “my sweet lovely” in which that characters have a conversation resulting in a bloody massacre.
  16. 16. Examples Of This Include: Watchmen” (2009) a mystery revolving around a hero who died and the rest of the hero‟s job to solve it, despite their judges against each other. “Brazil” (1989) In a futuristic society where society is needlessly convoluted a harried technocrat seeks to fly away from the troubles of his time. “The Big Lebowski” (1998) Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski is the ultimate LA slacker, until one day his house is broken into and his rug is peed on by two angry gangsters who have mistaken him for Jeffrey Lebowski, the LA millionaire, whose wife owes some bad people some big money. “Fight Club” (1999) A story about a guy seeking more out of life, he meets a man named Tyler with big ambitions, but nothing is at all as it seams. “Sin City” (2005) when a city becomes corrupted by the police and prostitutes, 3 protagonists make their way through with blood and bullets. “Se7en” (1997) when a strange strand of serial killings begins to emerge it is up to an old time detective and his newly transferred rookie sidekick to solve the mystery before more lives are claimed. “The Matrix” (1999) When our character begins to question reality be is tracked down by police being charged with being a terrorist hacker by the government and wakes up in a post apocalypse world, etc. in general many of the biggest Hollywood movies have some derivative for of noir in them. The key feature about neo-noirs is that they are bringing a new attractive twist on the noir genre.
  17. 17. Detective and Mystery These films are considered to be sub-genres of noir films. Considered to be suspenseful and dark films that usually center around a crime, either kidnapping of a character or theft; with the central character often being a hard-boiled detective meets a quest and faces it in a cold methodical pursuit to solve the crime in question. Films that follow this sub-genre are: “Se7en” (1997)- When a run of serial killings begin its is up to two opposite detectives to solve this case before they are completed. “The Sixth Sense” (1999) Malcolm Crowe is a child psychologist who receives an award on the same night that he is visited by a very unhappy ex-patient, who then goes to see a young boy with the same illness as his ex- patient. “Psycho” “1960) A woman leave town to start a new life but stays over at a motel where she meets a quiet young man named Norman who is heavily controlled by his mother. “Gone Baby Gone‟ (2007) When a child goes missing, her aunt hires two detectives to find her.
  18. 18. Gangster and Crime These crime films center around the sinister actions of a criminal or mobster type people, in particular mob bosses or under world figures who throughout the movie will kill and steal to reach their ultimate goal. Films like this include: “The Godfather” (1972) the aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clan to his adamant son. “Public Enemy” (1931) A young hoodlum rises up through the ranks of the Chicago underworld, even as a gangster's accidental death threatens to spark a bloody mob war. “Public Enemy‟s” (2009) The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.
  19. 19. Thriller and Suspense Thriller is on the broader section of film, and it works well with noir films as it works by adding suspense and more mental horror than actual, forcing you to realize what has happened in a either an immediate or drawn out fashion. This styling makes you think and that‟s why it works. “In Bruges” (2008) Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hit man Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be. „Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” (2005) when an actress is murdered, it‟s up to two friends to uncover her murder whilst on the run themselves
  20. 20. Iconography Of Noir Films Aspects clear to the noir genre are the moody cigarettes of both the hapless protagonist and the flirty femme fatale. The dark shadowy visuals that create as sense of mystery. The often heavily orientated dialogue scenes, which only at climax reveal to have a startling ambient nondiegetic soundtrack bust to show the feeling of suspense. Other elements way include the rain that only ever seems to disperse at the end of the film. And often most recognizable icon of film noir, the private eye detective with his long trench coat and mounted fedora with a no nonsense attitude.
  21. 21. The Usual Themes In Noir In Noir, (These may include neo-noir, thriller/ hybrid genre etc..) there is a universal theme of Good vs. Evil, but often at the end it amasses down to a lesser evil versing a greater evil; as often in noir there are very few “good guys”. Many of the characters are corrupt, and those who are not often end up dead by the end of the first act, giving us the themes of death, murder and tragedy. But in saying that that also mean many noir protagonists are influenced by either love or lust, their desire for the girl or even money by the end drives the characters motives thought the film. Other themes may include the feeling of isolating and longing for purpose especially in the protagonist who‟s one fixation had once drives them, though they may now may feel purposeless and long for something new and exotic to them. These factors play an important role in the characters development throughout the film; often there could be a menacing secret about out protagonist until the films climax. The antagonist is often one of the most interesting characters, such as Kevin Spacy‟s character “John Doe” in “Se7en” in which he was caught at the beginning out the final act, and he slowly reveled his schemes in a elegant manor that resulted in his victory, the puppet master antagonists are no stranger to the genre.
  22. 22. The Style Of Noir Films The style element refers to the way in which the certain icons are presented within the genre, through cinematography, editing special effects and colour. We associate noir with long almost drawn-out dialogue scenes, in often an unsettling atmosphere. With scenes of rain at night representing loneliness but also sinister intensions of characters.
  23. 23. Setting Of Noir Films This aspect is often set in an gloomy city, riddled with corruption. The main hosts of noir films are city‟s like New York, Chicago etc. They have ambiguous dark allies, more abandoned warehouses than anywhere else in the world and a warring crime gang on every block. Keeping in mind that the noir setting in during wartime the people typically have a short-tempered attitude and a growing number of people in desperation, people became more prone to crime. Leaving a glum often-solemn setting.
  24. 24. The Usual Narrative Of Noir Films In defining the narrative elements we can that most Noirs will follow the conventional structure of film theorist Todov: we begin in the Equilibrium where our protagonist is doing their hob, without much thrill to their life, when suddenly the antagonist (either criminal or feme fatale) enter leaving their essence (e.g. a murder) thus entering the disequilibrium stage of the narrative. It then falls upon the protagonist to resolve the problem, catch the crook, save the girl and repair the damage etc. Eventually resulting in restoring balance. One achieved we then enter the new Equilibrium, though it is often ended upon a bitter sweet note…