One thing that stood out for me about the beginning is the lack of music. Think of "Jaws" (yes, I know it's not noir but bear with me please) and the iconic music that is an audible cue for danger. In this opening the silence registered for me the same way ... no sound = something ominous is afoot. We had a couple of long stretches wherein the only sound was "background noise" such as traffic.
I read a few other comments along these lines and was chagrinned to realize that I had failed to recall the one mother's line that as long as she could hear them sing that dreadful song, at least she