Marianne

Film Noir to Neo-Noir: Transitions and Modern Noir

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This discussion thread is based on ideas taken from the Summer of Darkness, HEYMOE, VanHazard, and me (Marianne). We’re working on defining neo-noir and all its subcategories and on compiling a list of neo-noir movies. This first post is simply a way to continue the discussion, which got started under the discussion thread called “Irrational Man: Neo-Noir Masquerading as a Film About Philosophy?” I hope the discussion includes reactions to seeing some of the movies.

 

Borrowings from film noir to define neo-noir and modern neo-noir:

1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.)

2. Flashbacks

3. Narration

4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder)

5. Femme fatale

6. The instrument of fate

7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, and so on)

8. Violence or the threat of violence

9. Urban and nighttime settings

10. Allusion to post–World War II themes (optional)

11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness

12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia)

13. Greed

14. Betrayal

15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on)

16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good”

 

Early examples of neo-noirs:

Underworld U.S.A. (1961), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w
Cape Fear (1962), dir. J. Lee Thompson, b&w
The Manchurian Candidate (1962), dir. John Frankenheimer, b&w
Shock Corridor (1963) dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w
The Naked Kiss (1964), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w
Point Blank (1967), dir. John Boorman, color

 

Modern neo-noirs:

Chinatown (1974), dir. Roman Polanski

Taxi Driver (1976), dir. Martin Scorsese

Body Heat (1981), dir. Lawrence Kasdan

Blade Runner (1982), dir. Ridley Scott

Blood Simple (1984), dir. Joel Coen

Blue Velvet (1986), dir. David Lynch

House of Games (1987), dir. David Mamet

Miller’s Crossing (1990), dir. Joel Coen

Red Rock West (1992), dir. John Dahl

Se7en (1995), dir. David Fincher

The Usual Suspects (1995), dir. Bryan Singer

Fargo (1996), dir. Joel Coen

L.A. Confidential (1997), dir. Curtis Hanson

Memento (2000), dir. Christopher Nolan

Mulholland Drive (2001), dir. David Lynch

Brick (2006), dir. Rian Johnson

 

Additional noir film ideas (dates, directors? Just to be consistent and to avoid confusion, not required):

The Two Jakes

Dark City

Mulholland Falls

Bound

The Black Dahlia

Devil in a Blue Dress

The Last Seduction

Palmetto

The Last Seduction

Angel Heart

U-Turn

Deep Cover

Manhunter

Klute

Stormy Monday

Romeo Is Bleeding

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Just a quick note about the tags for this discussion thread. I'm actually not a big fan of categories, but when reading about later films noir, one sees all sorts of categories meant to apply to films that aren't classic film noir (classic film noir being those noir films made between 1941 and 1958). I didn't want to leave any ideas out, so I added all the tags I could think of that might apply.

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Just a quick note about the tags for this discussion thread. I'm actually not a big fan of categories, but when reading about later films noir, one sees all sorts of categories meant to apply to films that aren't classic film noir (classic film noir being those noir films made between 1941 and 1958). I didn't want to leave any ideas out, so I added all the tags I could think of that might apply.

 

Thanks for cleaning things up and adding the tags, etc.   I'll add the dates/directors of the additional films listed, but the list could go on and on.  

 

When I started thinking about it, and many of the films we've already listed, it also occurred to me that we may need to add a few more elements to Noir - Neo Noir:

 

Male Fatales --- interestingly, I sense a resurgence in the deadly or predatory male in Neo Noir, and an curious whether the extensive acceptance of at least some/many aspects of feminism over the last Fifty years may be in part responsible; that, and the fact that, serial killers --- the subjects of many Neo Noirs --- are almost exclusively male (as they are in actual fact).  If so, does this reflect the continuing change and complexity in the real and perceived role and definition of masculinity in contemporary society?  

 

This is probably a convoluted way of asking: is there a trend in Neo Noir of men victimizing women rather than the other way around, as so often was the case in classic Noir?   This might be a fun sub-theme to explore if you think it has any validity.

 

Two other elements might also qualify for inclusion: the oppressive burden of the past on the present and future that's so common through both Noir and Neo Noir; and what may be a companion to some of the elements you've already noted, that Existential angst, alienation and estrangement in Noir seems to have evolved into full-blown Nihilism, and the cynicism, fatalism, pessimism in Neo Noir.

 

Here's looking forward to a lively discussion!  

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Thank you for taking on the subject of neo/modern noir. The past few weeks, I've been trying to watch more neo/modern films noir and often time I finish the film more confused about the sub-genre. My knowledge of noir is specific to the classics, so as I'm watching these newer films, I'm applying that knowledge to this newer genre.

 

I can see some of the classic noir elements (both plot and technical), but it definitely has expanded to much more. I'm in agreement with VanHazard that we see more homme fatales victimizing women. I just finished watching Following available on Netflix. This is Christopher Nolan's first film. It is categorized as Neo-noir; filmed in black and white, narration, non-linear story line, homme fatale, philosophical, violence, etc. 

 

It reminded me very much of Memento (also a Nolan film) as far as its disjointed storytelling, flashbacks, etc.

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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) is a good modern noir starring Denzel Washington. Speaking of, many lists include Training Day as a neo-noir. Does it fit?

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Additional Neo-Noir films (dates, directors) :

 

The Two Jakes   1990   Jack Nicholson

Dark City          1998   Alex Proyas

Mulholland Falls   1996   Lee Tamahori

Bound    1996  The Wachowski Brothers

The Black Dahlia      2006  Brian DePalma

Devil in a Blue Dress   1995  Carl Franklin

The Last Seduction   1994   John Dahl

Palmetto   1998  Volker Schlondorff

Angel Heart   1997  Alan Parker

U-Turn   1997  Oliver Stone

Deep Cover   1992  Bill Duke

Manhunter   1986  Michael Mann

Klute   1971   Alan J. Pakula

Stormy Monday   1988  Mike Figgis

Romeo Is Bleeding  1993  Peter Medak

Silence of the Lambs  1991  Jonathan Demme

Night Moves  1975  Arthur Penn

Farewell My Lovely  1975   Dick Richards

The Big Sleep  1978  Michael Winner

A Better Tomorrow   1986  John Woo

Year of the Dragon   1985  Michael Cimino

Branded to Kill   1967  Seijun Suzuki

Hard Boiled 1992  John Woo

King of New York  1990   Abel Ferrara

Get Carter  1971  Mike Hodges

The Long Good Friday  1980  John Mackenzie

The Long Goodbye  1973  Robert Altman

Marlowe  1969  Paul Bogart

Sea of Love  1989  Harold Becker

Sexy Beast  2000 Jonathan Glazer

State of Grace  1990  Phil Joanou

Collateral  2004  Michael Mann

Heat  1995  Michael Mann

The Sweeney  2012  Nick Love

Training Day  2001  Antoine Fugua

Jade   1995  William Friedkin

True Romance  1993  Tony Scott

A Rage in Harlem, 1991  Bill Duke

The Red Riding Trilogy 2009, Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker

Oldboy  2003  Chan-wook Park

Mystic River, 2003  Clint Eastwood

Reservoir Dogs  1992  Quentin Tarantino

Jackie Brown  1997   Quentin Tarantino

 

 

etc, etc.

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I have updated the lists of noir characteristics and the neo-noir films. I hope to keep the lists updated. Does it make sense to re-post them (like I'm doing today) so that they are easier to discuss?

 

I haven't seen nearly as many of these films as others have, so I have some catching up to do. I have seen Mulholland Drive, but I plan to see it again so I can watch it through "the lens" of what I have learned in the Summer of Darkness. I will be posting about it as soon as I see it, and mull it over, and write it out (my usual style!).

 

Borrowings from film noir to define neo-noir and modern neo-noir:

1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.)

2. Flashbacks

3. Narration

4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder)

5. Femme fatale (and/or homme fatale)

6. The instrument of fate

7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, and so on)

8. Violence or the threat of violence

9. Urban and nighttime settings

10. Allusion to post–World War II themes (optional)

11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness

12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia)

13. Greed

14. Betrayal

15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on)

16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good”

 

 

Early examples of neo-noirs:

Underworld U.S.A. (1961), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w
Cape Fear (1962), dir. J. Lee Thompson, b&w
The Manchurian Candidate (1962), dir. John Frankenheimer, b&w
Shock Corridor (1963) dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w
The Naked Kiss (1964), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w
Point Blank (1967), dir. John Boorman, color

 

Modern neo-noirs:

Chinatown (1974), dir. Roman Polanski

Taxi Driver (1976), dir. Martin Scorsese

Body Heat (1981), dir. Lawrence Kasdan

Blade Runner (1982), dir. Ridley Scott

Blood Simple (1984), dir. Joel Coen

Blue Velvet (1986), dir. David Lynch

House of Games (1987), dir. David Mamet

Miller’s Crossing (1990), dir. Joel Coen

Red Rock West (1992), dir. John Dahl

Se7en (1995), dir. David Fincher

The Usual Suspects (1995), dir. Bryan Singer

Fargo (1996), dir. Joel Coen

L.A. Confidential (1997), dir. Curtis Hanson

Memento (2000), dir. Christopher Nolan

Mulholland Drive (2001), dir. David Lynch

Brick (2006), dir. Rian Johnson

 

After Hours (19850000), dir. Martin Scorsese

Gangs of New York (2002), dir Martin Scorsese

 

The Two Jakes (1990), dir. Jack Nicholson

Dark City (1998), dir. Alex Proyas

Mulholland Falls ( 1996), dir. Lee Tamahori

Bound (1996), dir. The Wachowski Brothers

The Black Dahlia (2006), dir. Brian DePalma

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), dir. Carl Franklin

The Last Seduction (1994), dir. John Dahl

Palmetto (1998), dir. Volker Schlondorff

Angel Heart (1997), dir. Alan Parker

U-Turn (1997), dir. Oliver Stone

Deep Cover (1992), dir. Bill Duke

Manhunter (1986), dir. Michael Mann

Klute, (1971), dir. Alan J. Pakula

Stormy Monday (1988), dir. Mike Figgis

Romeo Is Bleeding (1993), dir. Peter Medak

Silence of the Lambs (1991) dir. Jonathan Demme

Night Moves (1975) dir. Arthur Penn

Farewell My Lovely (1975), dir. Dick Richards

The Big Sleep (1978), dir. Michael Winner

A Better Tomorrow (1986), dir. John Woo

Year of the Dragon (1985), dir. Michael Cimino

Branded to Kill (1967) dir.Seijun Suzuki

Hard Boiled (1992) dir. John Woo

King of New York (1990) dir.Abel Ferrara

Get Carter (1971) dir. Mike Hodges

The Long Good Friday (1980) dir. John Mackenzie

The Long Goodbye (1973) dir. Robert Altman

Marlowe (1969) dir. Paul Bogart

Sea of Love (1989) dir. Harold Becker

Sexy Beast (2000) dir. Jonathan Glazer

State of Grace (1990) dir. Phil Joanou

Collateral (2004) dir. Michael Mann

Heat (1995) dir. Michael Mann

The Sweeney (2012) dir. Nick Love

Training Day (2001) dir. Antoine Fugua

Jade (1995) dir. William Friedkin

True Romance (1993) Tony Scott

A Rage in Harlem (1991) dir. Bill Duke

The Red Riding Trilogy (2009), Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker

Oldboy (2003) dir. Chan-wook Park

Mystic River (2003) dir. Clint Eastwood

Reservoir Dogs (1992) dir. Quentin Tarantino

Jackie Brown (1997) dir. Quentin Tarantino

Following (1999), dir. Christopher Nolan

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. . .  I just finished watching Following available on Netflix. This is Christopher Nolan's first film. It is categorized as Neo-noir; filmed in black and white, narration, non-linear story line, homme fatale, philosophical, violence, etc. 

 

It reminded me very much of Memento (also a Nolan film) as far as its disjointed storytelling, flashbacks, etc.

 

Christopher Nolan is one of my favorites. I want to see Memento again, and I plan to see Following. So many movies, so little time!

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Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in /home/turnercl/public_html/admin/sources/classes/text/parser.php on line 1161

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Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in /home/turnercl/public_html/admin/sources/classes/text/parser.php on line 1161

I was having trouble all afternoon posting a reply here. I kept getting this error. Has anyone ever received such error? If so, did it resolve itself? If not, how were you able to correct it?  

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Looking forward to making my first contribution on this topic.

 

My approach will be to see as many films listed and after identifying themes they may have in common with classic noir (1941-1958) make mention of any new themes observed. These new themes become important when other films we see share the same. When enough films share the same themes, they could become themes associated with the transition neo-noir or modern neo-noir.

 

I will be seeing some of these films for the second or third time if only because I never thought of noir the first time. 

 

Let us all enjoy neo-noir this fall.

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Looking forward to making my first contribution on this topic.

 

My approach will be to see as many films listed and after identifying themes they may have in common with classic noir (1941-1958) make mention of any new themes observed. These new themes become important when other films we see share the same. When enough films share the same themes, they could become themes associated with the transition neo-noir or modern neo-noir.

 

I will be seeing some of these films for the second or third time if only because I never thought of noir the first time. 

 

Let us all enjoy neo-noir this fall.

 

Haven't experienced problems posting.  Maybe it was a temporary glitch.   

 

Agree that there's a lot of ground to cover making the transition from classic noir to neo-noir.  Think it's important we look for both the similarities and the differences between the two, and not presume we've exhausted classic noir in the process.   The opposite is probably true. We've only scratched the surface, and I suspect that both classic noir and neo-noir are not clear and discernible entities unto themselves and that just as classic noir has evolved and bled into neo-noir, they've both also mutated and been absorbed into a myriad of other genres and styles we're familiar with today. 

 

Quite a few of the neo-noirs we've listed to date aren't especially great films, per se, just as many of the classic noirs we saw during the Summer of Darkness weren't top shelf, but they share some/many of the themes and motifs we're tracking.  

 

Also hope others jump into the discussion.   

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I have updated the lists of noir characteristics and the neo-noir films. I hope to keep the lists updated. Does it make sense to re-post them (like I'm doing today) so that they are easier to discuss?

 

I haven't seen nearly as many of these films as others have, so I have some catching up to do. I have seen Mulholland Drive, but I plan to see it again so I can watch it through "the lens" of what I have learned in the Summer of Darkness. I will be posting about it as soon as I see it, and mull it over, and write it out (my usual style!).

 

Borrowings from film noir to define neo-noir and modern neo-noir:

1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.)

2. Flashbacks

3. Narration

4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder)

5. Femme fatale (and/or homme fatale)

6. The instrument of fate

7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, and so on)

8. Violence or the threat of violence

9. Urban and nighttime settings

10. Allusion to post–World War II themes (optional)

11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness

12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia)

13. Greed

14. Betrayal

15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on)

16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good”

 

 

Early examples of neo-noirs:

Underworld U.S.A. (1961), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w

Cape Fear (1962), dir. J. Lee Thompson, b&w

The Manchurian Candidate (1962), dir. John Frankenheimer, b&w

Shock Corridor (1963) dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w

The Naked Kiss (1964), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w

Point Blank (1967), dir. John Boorman, color

 

Modern neo-noirs:

Chinatown (1974), dir. Roman Polanski

Taxi Driver (1976), dir. Martin Scorsese

Body Heat (1981), dir. Lawrence Kasdan

Blade Runner (1982), dir. Ridley Scott

Blood Simple (1984), dir. Joel Coen

Blue Velvet (1986), dir. David Lynch

House of Games (1987), dir. David Mamet

Miller’s Crossing (1990), dir. Joel Coen

Red Rock West (1992), dir. John Dahl

Se7en (1995), dir. David Fincher

The Usual Suspects (1995), dir. Bryan Singer

Fargo (1996), dir. Joel Coen

L.A. Confidential (1997), dir. Curtis Hanson

Memento (2000), dir. Christopher Nolan

Mulholland Drive (2001), dir. David Lynch

Brick (2006), dir. Rian Johnson

 

After Hours (19850000), dir. Martin Scorsese

Gangs of New York (2002), dir Martin Scorsese

 

The Two Jakes (1990), dir. Jack Nicholson

Dark City (1998), dir. Alex Proyas

Mulholland Falls ( 1996), dir. Lee Tamahori

Bound (1996), dir. The Wachowski Brothers

The Black Dahlia (2006), dir. Brian DePalma

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), dir. Carl Franklin

The Last Seduction (1994), dir. John Dahl

Palmetto (1998), dir. Volker Schlondorff

Angel Heart (1997), dir. Alan Parker

U-Turn (1997), dir. Oliver Stone

Deep Cover (1992), dir. Bill Duke

Manhunter (1986), dir. Michael Mann

Klute, (1971), dir. Alan J. Pakula

Stormy Monday (1988), dir. Mike Figgis

Romeo Is Bleeding (1993), dir. Peter Medak

Silence of the Lambs (1991) dir. Jonathan Demme

Night Moves (1975) dir. Arthur Penn

Farewell My Lovely (1975), dir. Dick Richards

The Big Sleep (1978), dir. Michael Winner

A Better Tomorrow (1986), dir. John Woo

Year of the Dragon (1985), dir. Michael Cimino

Branded to Kill (1967) dir.Seijun Suzuki

Hard Boiled (1992) dir. John Woo

King of New York (1990) dir.Abel Ferrara

Get Carter (1971) dir. Mike Hodges

The Long Good Friday (1980) dir. John Mackenzie

The Long Goodbye (1973) dir. Robert Altman

Marlowe (1969) dir. Paul Bogart

Sea of Love (1989) dir. Harold Becker

Sexy Beast (2000) dir. Jonathan Glazer

State of Grace (1990) dir. Phil Joanou

Collateral (2004) dir. Michael Mann

Heat (1995) dir. Michael Mann

The Sweeney (2012) dir. Nick Love

Training Day (2001) dir. Antoine Fugua

Jade (1995) dir. William Friedkin

True Romance (1993) Tony Scott

A Rage in Harlem (1991) dir. Bill Duke

The Red Riding Trilogy (2009), Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker

Oldboy (2003) dir. Chan-wook Park

Mystic River (2003) dir. Clint Eastwood

Reservoir Dogs (1992) dir. Quentin Tarantino

Jackie Brown (1997) dir. Quentin Tarantino

Following (1999), dir. Christopher Nolan

This post is very helpful to me as a guide as I continue to learn about noir and now, neo noir.  Thanks so much!!

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The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), dir. Peter Yates

 

How could I forget this one? Starring Robert Mitchum!

 

I'll be updating the lists with more suggestions, but there's so many to see already. And I don't want to take up space on the thread repeating long lists that differ by one film. So I'll try to keep track and update every once in a while.

 

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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) is a good modern noir starring Denzel Washington. Speaking of, many lists include Training Day as a neo-noir. Does it fit?

Devil In A Blue Dress is a good PI film, I was really disappointed in its designation as a Noir, it barely has any Noir stylistics. But I admit that I'm more visually oriented  so I tend give more weight to those films that have the strong noir visual stylistics than films that are NIPOs Noir In Plot Only, they'd have to be really darkly twisted in plot to reach my tipping point into Noirsville, otherwise I just consider them Crime genre and not on my personal Neo Noir list. If they are shot in B&W they get an extra point 

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The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), dir. Peter Yates

 

How could I forget this one? Starring Robert Mitchum!

 

I'll be updating the lists with more suggestions, but there's so many to see already. And I don't want to take up space on the thread repeating long lists that differ by one film. So I'll try to keep track and update every once in a while.

I didn't get much of a Noir vibe out of this one either, but again I'm visually oriented, there are a lot of NIPO (Noir In Plot Only) Crime films that don't give me a Noir buzz. I'm not saying that they are bad they are just not Noir. I think that is the problem with all the confusion, Noir's resurgence is causing marketers to label everything as Neo Noir. The only ones that really do it for me are those that embrace the classical Noir stylistics wholeheartedly, or are bizarrely over the top twisted.

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I'm more visually oriented so I tend give more weight to those films that have the strong noir visual stylistics than films that are NIPOs Noir In Plot Only, they'd have to be really darkly twisted in plot to reach my tipping point, otherwise I just consider them Crime genre and not on my personal Neo Noir list. If they are shot in B&W they get an extra point

 

I too have been searching Neo Noirs out using critic lists and other sources and have been both greatly disappointed and happily surprised. The last edition of Film Noir The Encyclopedia lists about 160 Neo Noirs I agreed with about 40 disagreed with 40, have found some that are not even listed, and have been plowing through the rest discovering both gems, flawed efforts, and BS (as a Neo Noir designation), i.e my last three gems were Impulse, To Live And Die In LA and The Hot Spot the flawed films were 8 Million Ways To Die (comes off as too much a message film) The Outfit no Noir buzz (a shame with it's cast), Payback (the original release is great if it just had the original Directors ending it would be a gem) and the experimental Suture. The BS as far as a Neo Noir designation were Miami Vice (more a action film, machine guns rarely go with noir) and the remake of Kiss Of Death I didn't get that Noir buzz from that one, but again that's just me.

 

My current chronological Neo Noir list (includes Neo Film Noir & Neo Film Soleil (those desert, sun baked filled with light noirs) :

 

Blast Of Silence (1961) 
 
Underworld USA (1961) 
 
Something Wild (1961) 
 
Cape Fear (1962) 
 
Experiment In Terror (1962) 
 
Satan in High Heels (1962) 
 
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) 
 
Shock Corridor (1962) 
 
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) 
 
The Naked Kiss (1964) 
 
The Pawnbroker (1964) 
 
Brainstorm (1965) 
 
Once A Thief (1965) 
 
Harper (1966) 
 
Mr. Buddwing (1966) 
 
In Cold Blood (1967) 
 
In The Heat Of The Night (1967) 
 
Marlowe (1969) 
 
The Honeymoon Killers (1970) 
 
Shaft  (1971)
 
Across 110th Street (1971) 
 
The Getaway (1971) 
 
Get Carter (1971) 
 
Hickey & Boggs (1972) 
 
Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974) 
 
The Nickel Ride (1974)
 
The Drowning Pool (1975) 
 
Farewell My Lovely (1975)
 
Night Moves (1975) 
 
Taxi Driver (1976) 
 
Dressed to Kill (1980) 
 
Union City (1980) 
 
Body Heat (1981) 
 
Thief (1981)
 
Blade Runner (1982) 
 
Hammett (1982) 
 
Blood Simple (1984) 
 
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
 
Blue Velvet (1986) 
 
Angel Heart (1987) 
 
Frantic (1988) 
 
Kill Me Again (1989)
 
The Grifters (1990) 
 
The Kill-Off (1990) 
 
The Hot Spot (1990) 
 
Wild At Heart (1990) 
 
Impulse (1990)
 
Dick Tracy (1990) 
 
Delicatessen (1991) 
 
Reservoir Dogs (1992) 
 
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) 
 
Romeo Is Bleeding (1993)
 
True Romance (1993) 
 
The Wrong Man (1993) 
 
The Last Seduction (1994) 
 
Pulp Fiction (1994) 
 
Se7en (1995) 
 
Fargo (1996) 
 
Mulholland Falls (1996) 
 
Hit Me (1996)
 
Jackie Brown (1997) 
 
L.A. Confidential (1997) 
 
Lost Highway (1997) 
 
This World, Then the Fireworks (1997) 
 
Dark City (1998) 
 
A Simple Plan (1998) 
 
The Big Lebowski (1998) 
 
Payback (1999)
 
Night Train (1999) 
 
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) 
 
Mulholland Drive (2001) 
 
Sin City (2005) 
 
No Country For Old Men (2007) 
 
Dark Country (2009)
 
The Killer Inside Me (2010)
 
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014)
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I have updated the lists of noir characteristics and the neo-noir films. I hope to keep the lists updated. Does it make sense to re-post them (like I'm doing today) so that they are easier to discuss?

 

I haven't seen nearly as many of these films as others have, so I have some catching up to do. I have seen Mulholland Drive, but I plan to see it again so I can watch it through "the lens" of what I have learned in the Summer of Darkness. I will be posting about it as soon as I see it, and mull it over, and write it out (my usual style!).

 

Borrowings from film noir to define neo-noir and modern neo-noir:

1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.)

2. Flashbacks

3. Narration

4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder)

5. Femme fatale (and/or homme fatale)

6. The instrument of fate

7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, and so on)

8. Violence or the threat of violence

9. Urban and nighttime settings

10. Allusion to post–World War II themes (optional)

11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness

12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia)

13. Greed

14. Betrayal

15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on)

16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good”

 

 

Early examples of neo-noirs:

Underworld U.S.A. (1961), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w

Cape Fear (1962), dir. J. Lee Thompson, b&w

The Manchurian Candidate (1962), dir. John Frankenheimer, b&w

Shock Corridor (1963) dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w

The Naked Kiss (1964), dir. Samuel Fuller, b&w

Point Blank (1967), dir. John Boorman, color

 

Modern neo-noirs:

Chinatown (1974), dir. Roman Polanski

Taxi Driver (1976), dir. Martin Scorsese

Body Heat (1981), dir. Lawrence Kasdan

Blade Runner (1982), dir. Ridley Scott

Blood Simple (1984), dir. Joel Coen

Blue Velvet (1986), dir. David Lynch

House of Games (1987), dir. David Mamet

Miller’s Crossing (1990), dir. Joel Coen

Red Rock West (1992), dir. John Dahl

Se7en (1995), dir. David Fincher

The Usual Suspects (1995), dir. Bryan Singer

Fargo (1996), dir. Joel Coen

L.A. Confidential (1997), dir. Curtis Hanson

Memento (2000), dir. Christopher Nolan

Mulholland Drive (2001), dir. David Lynch

Brick (2006), dir. Rian Johnson

 

After Hours (19850000), dir. Martin Scorsese

Gangs of New York (2002), dir Martin Scorsese

 

The Two Jakes (1990), dir. Jack Nicholson

Dark City (1998), dir. Alex Proyas

Mulholland Falls ( 1996), dir. Lee Tamahori

Bound (1996), dir. The Wachowski Brothers

The Black Dahlia (2006), dir. Brian DePalma

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), dir. Carl Franklin

The Last Seduction (1994), dir. John Dahl

Palmetto (1998), dir. Volker Schlondorff

Angel Heart (1997), dir. Alan Parker

U-Turn (1997), dir. Oliver Stone

Deep Cover (1992), dir. Bill Duke

Manhunter (1986), dir. Michael Mann

Klute, (1971), dir. Alan J. Pakula

Stormy Monday (1988), dir. Mike Figgis

Romeo Is Bleeding (1993), dir. Peter Medak

Silence of the Lambs (1991) dir. Jonathan Demme

Night Moves (1975) dir. Arthur Penn

Farewell My Lovely (1975), dir. Dick Richards

The Big Sleep (1978), dir. Michael Winner

A Better Tomorrow (1986), dir. John Woo

Year of the Dragon (1985), dir. Michael Cimino

Branded to Kill (1967) dir.Seijun Suzuki

Hard Boiled (1992) dir. John Woo

King of New York (1990) dir.Abel Ferrara

Get Carter (1971) dir. Mike Hodges

The Long Good Friday (1980) dir. John Mackenzie

The Long Goodbye (1973) dir. Robert Altman

Marlowe (1969) dir. Paul Bogart

Sea of Love (1989) dir. Harold Becker

Sexy Beast (2000) dir. Jonathan Glazer

State of Grace (1990) dir. Phil Joanou

Collateral (2004) dir. Michael Mann

Heat (1995) dir. Michael Mann

The Sweeney (2012) dir. Nick Love

Training Day (2001) dir. Antoine Fugua

Jade (1995) dir. William Friedkin

True Romance (1993) Tony Scott

A Rage in Harlem (1991) dir. Bill Duke

The Red Riding Trilogy (2009), Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker

Oldboy (2003) dir. Chan-wook Park

Mystic River (2003) dir. Clint Eastwood

Reservoir Dogs (1992) dir. Quentin Tarantino

Jackie Brown (1997) dir. Quentin Tarantino

Following (1999), dir. Christopher Nolan

Out of your list which is similar to my list I haven't seen

 

Modern neo-noirs:

Palmetto (1998), dir. Volker Schlondorff

Deep Cover (1992), dir. Bill Duke

Stormy Monday (1988), dir. Mike Figgis

A Better Tomorrow (1986), dir. John Woo

Year of the Dragon (1985), dir. Michael Cimino

Branded to Kill (1967) dir.Seijun Suzuki

Hard Boiled (1992) dir. John Woo

King of New York (1990) dir.Abel Ferrara

State of Grace (1990) dir. Phil Joanou

Collateral (2004) dir. Michael Mann

Heat (1995) dir. Michael Mann

The Sweeney (2012) dir. Nick Love

Training Day (2001) dir. Antoine Fugua

Jade (1995) dir. William Friedkin

A Rage in Harlem (1991) dir. Bill Duke

The Red Riding Trilogy (2009), Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker

Oldboy (2003) dir. Chan-wook Park

Following (1999), dir. Christopher Nolan

 

Out of your list the following I personally don't consider as Neo Noir:

 

Miller’s Crossing (1990), dir. Joel Coen  - Crime Genre Film
The Usual Suspects (1995), dir. Bryan Singer - Crime Genre Film
Gangs of New York (2002), dir Martin Scorsese - Costume Drama - Crime Genre Film
Bound (1996), dir. The Wachowski Brothers - didn't get the vibe from this
Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), dir. Carl Franklin - a good PI film but didn't get the Noir vibe
Klute, (1971), dir. Alan J. Pakula - didn't get the Noir vibe
Silence of the Lambs (1991) dir. Jonathan Demme - Crime Genre Film
Mystic River (2003) dir. Clint Eastwood - didn't get the Noir vibe Crime Genre Film

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I'm more visually oriented so I tend give more weight to those films that have the strong noir visual stylistics than films that are NIPOs Noir In Plot Only, they'd have to be really darkly twisted in plot to reach my tipping point, otherwise I just consider them Crime genre and not on my personal Neo Noir list. If they are shot in B&W they get an extra point

 

I too have been searching Neo Noirs out using critic lists and other sources and have been both greatly disappointed and happily surprised. The last edition of Film Noir The Encyclopedia lists about 160 Neo Noirs I agreed with about 40 disagreed with 40, have found some that are not even listed, and have been plowing through the rest discovering both gems, flawed efforts, and BS (as a Neo Noir designation), i.e my last three gems were Impulse, To Live And Die In LA and The Hot Spot the flawed films were 8 Million Ways To Die (comes off as too much a message film) The Outfit no Noir buzz (a shame with it's cast), Payback (the original release is great if it just had the original Directors ending it would be a gem) and the experimental Suture. The BS as far as a Neo Noir designation were Miami Vice (more a action film, machine guns rarely go with noir) and the remake of Kiss Of Death I didn't get that Noir buzz from that one, but again that's just me.

 

My current chronological Neo Noir list (includes Neo Film Noir & Neo Film Soleil (those desert, sun baked filled with light noirs) :

 

Blast Of Silence (1961) 
 
Underworld USA (1961) 
 
Something Wild (1961) 
 
Cape Fear (1962) 
 
Experiment In Terror (1962) 
 
Satan in High Heels (1962) 
 
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) 
 
Shock Corridor (1962) 
 
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) 
 
The Naked Kiss (1964) 
 
The Pawnbroker (1964) 
 
Brainstorm (1965) 
 
Once A Thief (1965) 
 
Harper (1966) 
 
Mr. Buddwing (1966) 
 
In Cold Blood (1967) 
 
In The Heat Of The Night (1967) 
 
Marlowe (1969) 
 
The Honeymoon Killers (1970) 
 
Shaft  (1971)
 
Across 110th Street (1971) 
 
The Getaway (1971) 
 
Get Carter (1971) 
 
Hickey & Boggs (1972) 
 
Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974) 
 
The Nickel Ride (1974)
 
The Drowning Pool (1975) 
 
Farewell My Lovely (1975)
 
Night Moves (1975) 
 
Taxi Driver (1976) 
 
Dressed to Kill (1980) 
 
Union City (1980) 
 
Body Heat (1981) 
 
Thief (1981)
 
Blade Runner (1982) 
 
Hammett (1982) 
 
Blood Simple (1984) 
 
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
 
Blue Velvet (1986) 
 
Angel Heart (1987) 
 
Frantic (1988) 
 
Kill Me Again (1989)
 
The Grifters (1990) 
 
The Kill-Off (1990) 
 
The Hot Spot (1990) 
 
Wild At Heart (1990) 
 
Impulse (1990)
 
Dick Tracy (1990) 
 
Delicatessen (1991) 
 
Reservoir Dogs (1992) 
 
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) 
 
Romeo Is Bleeding (1993)
 
True Romance (1993) 
 
The Wrong Man (1993) 
 
The Last Seduction (1994) 
 
Pulp Fiction (1994) 
 
Se7en (1995) 
 
Fargo (1996) 
 
Mulholland Falls (1996) 
 
Hit Me (1996)
 
Jackie Brown (1997) 
 
L.A. Confidential (1997) 
 
Lost Highway (1997) 
 
This World, Then the Fireworks (1997) 
 
Dark City (1998) 
 
A Simple Plan (1998) 
 
The Big Lebowski (1998) 
 
Payback (1999)
 
Night Train (1999) 
 
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) 
 
Mulholland Drive (2001) 
 
Sin City (2005) 
 
No Country For Old Men (2007) 
 
Dark Country (2009)
 
The Killer Inside Me (2010)
 
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014)

 

 

Great List!  Shows just how extensive and diverse noir's influence has been and continues to be.   Agree with your other post, too, in that it's not always clear what is and isn't neo-noir.  

 

You've included several that I wouldn't consider noir at first blush, Requiem for a Heavyweight, for instance; how far from The Set Up is it, really?   But does that imply we should also include Raging Bull?   The Pawnbroker is another film I might not think of as noir, but it's a wonderful, if unsettling film that, true to noir, is haunted by the past.   The Wrong Man is another that has several noir trimmings, such as the devastating effect that random chance, or fickle fate, can have on our seemingly well-structured lives.   It was discussed during Summer of Darkness, but I'm still not sure I think of it as noir, per se.

 

Agree with you that I don't consider Gangs of New York a neo-noir...though Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of Butcher Bill was remarkable.   Also see your point re Silence of the Lambs, but curiously, I would consider Manhunter neo noir, and they're the same story told in very different ways.   (I much prefer Michael Mann's version to Demme's, btw.)

 

Mystic River, Bound and Devil in a Blue Dress , imo, are examples of  ways noir and neo noir have mutated.  

 

Mystic River is, at core, less about crime and more about how the present can be twisted by the past and by an endless cycle of violence that never goes away...again...we become Elsa Bannister's who make terms with the darkness within and around us.  

 

Bound is neo-noir gone slick and glossy, it's characters also corrupted (and ultimately released) by the past, their assumptions and their passions.   True to one of the core tenants I sense running through much of neo noir, Violet and Corky are betting their skill and expertise will ultimately prove decisive and win-out against the odds; right and wrong, good and evil are completely absent in this Nihilistic void.    

 

Devil in a Blue Dress is a tarnished knight's quest to unravel what he thinks will be an easy case that, true to classic noir, gets increasingly more complicated.  When you get down to it, Easy Rawlins is not far afield of Philip Marlowe in both Murder My Sweet and The Big Sleep, and Devil in a Blue Dress probably has more in common with both than not.     

 

Mister Buddwing is an interesting inclusion.   Think it has many elements in common with Mirage, with both lead characters suffering from amnesia of sorts...(not an Angel Heart kind of amnesia, of course), but the film unfolds as each man tries to remember either who they are or what they've done or both.   Like The Pawnbroker and Mystic River, flashbacks are pivotal to the larger narrative.    All three reprise the familiar noir refrain from Jakes Gittes, in The Two Jakes, that "the past never goes away".  

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Looking forward to making my first contribution on this topic.

 

My approach will be to see as many films listed and after identifying themes they may have in common with classic noir (1941-1958) make mention of any new themes observed. These new themes become important when other films we see share the same. When enough films share the same themes, they could become themes associated with the transition neo-noir or modern neo-noir.

 

I will be seeing some of these films for the second or third time if only because I never thought of noir the first time. 

 

Let us all enjoy neo-noir this fall.

 

This approach sounds perfect to me. I thought my first film for this discussion thread would be Mulholland Drive, but Memento landed first, so I hope to post about it soon.

 

I really don't know a whole lot about neo-noir (or whatever label or tag is preferred today). I'm hoping to learn more by seeing the movies (sometimes a repeat viewing), writing about them, and reading others' posts on the same or other movies. I still lthink a Summer of Neo-Noir in 2016 would be a great follow-up to Dr. Edwards's Summer of Darkness 2015. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed!)

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Great List!  Shows just how extensive and diverse noir's influence has been and continues to be.   Agree with your other post, too, in that it's not always clear what is and isn't neo-noir.  

 

You've included several that I wouldn't consider noir at first blush, Requiem for a Heavyweight, for instance; how far from The Set Up is it, really?   But does that imply we should also include Raging Bull?   The Pawnbroker is another film I might not think of as noir, but it's a wonderful, if unsettling film that, true to noir, is haunted by the past.   The Wrong Man is another that has several noir trimmings, such as the devastating effect that random chance, or fickle fate, can have on our seemingly well-structured lives.   It was discussed during Summer of Darkness, but I'm still not sure I think of it as noir, per se.

 

Agree with you that I don't consider Gangs of New York a neo-noir...though Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of Butcher Bill was remarkable.   Also see your point re Silence of the Lambs, but curiously, I would consider Manhunter neo noir, and they're the same story told in very different ways.   (I much prefer Michael Mann's version to Demme's, btw.)

 

Mystic River, Bound and Devil in a Blue Dress , imo, are examples of  ways noir and neo noir have mutated.  

 

Mystic River is, at core, less about crime and more about how the present can be twisted by the past and by an endless cycle of violence that never goes away...again...we become Elsa Bannister's who make terms with the darkness within and around us.  

 

Bound is neo-noir gone slick and glossy, it's characters also corrupted (and ultimately released) by the past, their assumptions and their passions.   True to one of the core tenants I sense running through much of neo noir, Violet and Corky are betting their skill and expertise will ultimately prove decisive and win-out against the odds; right and wrong, good and evil are completely absent in this Nihilistic void.    

 

Devil in a Blue Dress is a tarnished knight's quest to unravel what he thinks will be an easy case that, true to classic noir, gets increasingly more complicated.  When you get down to it, Easy Rawlins is not far afield of Philip Marlowe in both Murder My Sweet and The Big Sleep, and Devil in a Blue Dress probably has more in common with both than not.     

 

Mister Buddwing is an interesting inclusion.   Think it has many elements in common with Mirage, with both lead characters suffering from amnesia of sorts...(not an Angel Heart kind of amnesia, of course), but the film unfolds as each man tries to remember either who they are or what they've done or both.   Like The Pawnbroker and Mystic River, flashbacks are pivotal to the larger narrative.    All three reprise the familiar noir refrain from Jakes Gittes, in The Two Jakes, that "the past never goes away".  

Remember for Neo's I emphasize the visual aspect Requiem For a Heavyweight has got the visual touchstones, Raging Bull though B&W does not it's too light filled and the sets seemed pretty sparse.

 

The Pawnbroker is B&W has the flashbacks, has the the crime angle, has the noir stylistics, the shadowed faces, has shots through mesh wire, the dutch angles, has the gritty Harlem of 60's, watch it with Noir shaded glasses.

 

Agree on Manhunter it's more noir-ish than Silence Of The Lambs.

 

I wish Devil In A Blue Dress was more Noir-ish I was expecting something along the lines of Farewell My Lovely if you've seen the later you'll see the difference. Watch In The Heat Of The Night and Shaft, both feel way more Noir-ish than Devil In A Blue Dress.

 

Mister Buddwing has the amnesia trope, has the flashbacks, has the low and high dutch angles, it even has an opening POV sequence and a great Jazz score, watch it with Noir shaded glasses  :)  

 

I'd have to watch Mystic River again, but I don't remember it being visually Noir

 

As far as The Wrong Man  I'm referring to the 1993 film set in Mexico, not the Henry Fonda vehicle, it's a real gem, I found my copy on Ebay. 

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Looking forward to making my first contribution on this topic.

 

My approach will be to see as many films listed and after identifying themes they may have in common with classic noir (1941-1958) make mention of any new themes observed. These new themes become important when other films we see share the same. When enough films share the same themes, they could become themes associated with the transition neo-noir or modern neo-noir.

 

I will be seeing some of these films for the second or third time if only because I never thought of noir the first time. 

 

Let us all enjoy neo-noir this fall.

I'm starting to believe that what makes Neo Noirs authentic Neo Noirs for me,  is not only a heavy dose of Noir stylistic cinematography along with a simple Noir storyline, but also a bit of cinematic memory, when you can picture the stars in these Neos as inheritors of Classic Noir star parts, or see a nod to Classic Noir type locations combined with an old school, without bells & whistles, low budget, "B" film artistry you reach the tipping point into full blown Noirsville. 
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Borrowings from film noir to define neo-noir and modern neo-noir:

1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.)

2. Flashbacks

3. Narration

4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder)

5. Femme fatale

6. The instrument of fate

7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, and so on)

8. Violence or the threat of violence

9. Urban and nighttime settings

10. Allusion to post–World War II themes (optional)

11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness

12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia)

13. Greed

14. Betrayal

15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on)

16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good”

Interesting, we are thinking similarly, I made a post on another web board about a true Noir Genre (I myself think it's just a style) But if I permitted myself to play God and create a “Noir Genre” these would be my standard criteria:

 
Cinematography - Noir Stylistics - no fill light, Dutch angles, high contrast, shadows, etc.
 
Time Period roughly between 1934 to 1960 + or - coinciding with aerodynamic cars, boxy square-ish cars are OUT
 
Time of Day - basically perpetual NIGHT less than 5% of the film should be ever in daylight
 
Location - at  least 95 % of the film should be filmed in The City and its industrial periphery or a small town, no farms, mountains, beaches, forests, wilderness, unless at night and only 5%.
 
Music mostly 95% Jazz and Blues, Dino, Sinatra, Bennett, Horne, Holliday, etc., some rock & roll but absolutely no Beatles
 
Storyline 95% CRIME related and its diegetic world of characters and their usually shady forms of employment.
 
Characters either obsessed or alienated  and adrift in a world out of their control.
 
Costuming fedora hats a must for men or whenever appropriate,  Women in heels, seamed stockings and garters always unless naked ;-) Smoking & Drinking mandatory
 
Weather overcast 50% of the film and some rain.
 
Borrowings from film noir to define neo-noir and modern neo-noir:
 
1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.) I'd add that many Neos also effectively  use clashing colors for the same. 
2. Flashbacks
3. Narration
4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder)
5. Femme fatale
6. The instrument of fate
7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, and so on)
8. Violence or the threat of violence
9. Urban and nighttime settings but I also include the anti city, the desert, is effective in many Neo Noirs 
10. Allusion to post–World War II themes (optional)
11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness
12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia)
13. Greed
14. Betrayal
15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on)
16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good”

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Borrowings from film noir to define neo-noir and modern neo-noir:
 
1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.) I'd add that many Neos also effectively  use clashing colors for the same. 
2. Flashbacks
3. Narration
4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder)
5. Femme fatale
6. The instrument of fate
7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, and so on)
8. Violence or the threat of violence
9. Urban and nighttime settings but I also include the anti city, the desert, is effective in many Neo Noirs 
10. Allusion to post–World War II themes (optional)
11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness
12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia)
13. Greed
14. Betrayal
15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on)
16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good”

 

 

You make some good points, but I just want to repeat here that the lists weren't all my doing. The first post on this discussion thread actually repeats a lot of input from the discussion thread that I started about Woody Allen's latest movie Irrational Man, and a lot of that input came from me and HEYMOE and VanHazard):

 

This discussion thread is based on ideas taken from the Summer of Darkness, HEYMOE, VanHazard, and me (Marianne). We’re working on defining neo-noir and all its subcategories and on compiling a list of neo-noir movies. This first post is simply a way to continue the discussion, which got started under the discussion thread called “Irrational Man: Neo-Noir Masquerading as a Film About Philosophy?” I hope the discussion includes reactions to seeing some of the movies.

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