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Define the Characteristics of Neo-Noir

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Define the characteristics of “neo-noir” (in contrast to the classical noir) with concrete references to the films we’ve seen        

        Noir. Originating in the thirties of the last century, the genre could not boast of outstanding ribbons in his piggy bank. Filmed on scanty money with poor lighting on nature these films could not impress the viewer. But they were the reason for the appearance of this term in the cinema. Subsequently, he was thrown on American paintings, impregnated with the spirit of the Great Depression, filled with cynical characters, and quite accurately convey the atmosphere of moral decay. No hopes, happy endings, happiness. Gray personality on a black background. Aesthetics of tabloid novels in its own juice. Noir is a certain concept, as for the genre, it can be absolutely any. A huge number of scenes and they are all intentionally darkened or nightly. In the frame, as is known, oblique or vertical lines always prevail. Lighting often does not distinguish one or another actor from the general situation. In most cases, it is placed in the shadow itself.

        With this you can well emphasize the dissolution of all the characters in the environment, as well as in the general dark atmosphere of this style. The motif of this or that city is just a necessary detail. In addition, attention is paid to the natural habitat of all the characters. The intensity itself is carried out through physical action. Also avoided the external restraint of the emotions of all actors, the dimensionality of the movements, the escalation of the situation. There is a rather complicated as well as confusing chronology of actions. In this case, it seems that there is a loss of time and disorientation. Depressing and gloomy atmosphere. There is a fine line between the main character, and also the anti hero. All these characteristics are inherent in this style.

        In the “noir” genre or style as you wish, the absence of a happy ending is a common occurrence. That is, the moment when the felon of all the problems of the main character is punished, and the main character is at death, can already be considered a very happy ending. The complete opposite of optimistic and motivating films, in which if they say goodbye to the protagonist, so rich, in his own house and with a loving woman in addition. By the way, it was from these films that the image of a female vamp or how we call is la femme fatal came into effect, which often played by its own rules and usually fell in love with the main character in order to use it later. Or used, and then fell in love.

        As it is easy to guess the basis of most films of this style was a criminal or detective story usually from the time of the Great Depression with gangster wars, corruption and a general feeling of hopelessness and uncertainty in the future. A symbol of such films is considered to be a private detective, who gets involved in a complicated history. Remember - dark houses, eternal rain, a tough guy in a raincoat and a hat, stretched over his eyes, standing under a shimmering lamp. That's exactly what “noir” is. Talking about the classic noir plunged us into shadows and a deep night. But after looking out from there we will see bright sunlight. It would seem that now everything is over. But no. We came out of the dark only to be scorched by the sun, found themselves in an even more savage place. There we learn what the dark side of the moon is. This tour will be held for us neo-noir. By the end of the 50s, the classical noir had managed to get bored with everyone. For its relatively short existence the genre has given us dozens of films of different quality. For a while gloomy private detectives, femme fatale and the pathos voice of the narrator were silent.

        However, the generation of American directors soon changed. Those who grew up on noir films came and noir received a new life in the form of the concept of “neo-noir”. This is the so-called style which is often found in different modern films using a variety of elements Noir. These are films with an updated theme as well as special content. This style is characterized by an unusual gloomy presentation. Heroes in "Noir" are mostly anti-heroes, marginals and excellent cynics. In addition they can often be criminals. These net-noir films are characterized by special cruelty, rigidity, as well as the atmosphere of the so-called social bottom. Very often there are erotic motifs. I'll venture to say that the genre that came was much richer, more diverse and more bold than its predecessor.

Doomed hero.

The breadth of the problem.



prostitution, sexual deviation

A game with signs of a classic noir.

Bright visual component.

The possibility of active symbiosis with other genres

        First this moral code forbade filmmakers almost any liberties on the screen from abuse and drugs to sex and violence. But of course a great role was played by the historical events of that time (Vietnam, Watergate, the Caribbean crisis, the murder of John F. Kennedy, etc.). America has become less stable, people have grown doubts and decadent moods. And, as we have already found out, what better approach for a bad disposition of the spirit than a noir? Here we have a story about the mafia. Gloomy, immoral, rough. But what is the difference from an ordinary noir? The main feature of all neo-noirs - impotence. Failure haunts the hero always like an evil rock and in the end he either loses the fight with a brutal reality or the victory gets too expensive. After the triumph of Godard's "Breathless" it became apparent that the classical noir would take a prominent place in the cultural memory of a new generation of directors from different countries. Refusing to copy the style of American "black films" Godard still could not hold back from playing with the formula. The trap, the fatal woman, combined with the typical 1960s spontaneity, a sense of freedom and real Paris in the frame said that noir had found a new life. The American neo-noir taking over the vision of the world of classical noir. It is equally morally conflicting, carries a sense of alienation, pessimism and paranoia. However neo-noir was born after the abolition of the Hayes code, after the countercultural revolution, the triumph of the French "new wave" that unleashed the writers and directors of the world.

        The first who made noir retrostyle became Roman Polanski in the "Chinatown". The final phrase of this gloomy, pessimistic film “Forget it, Jake, this is Chinatown" sounded like the knocking of a hammer hammering a nail into the coffin of a "cool detective" and with it a classic noir. Polanski has not yet tried to unite the detective and the villain in one person. Detective Jake Gittes in the "Chinatown" Roman Polanski most of the movie goes with a cut nose because he could not defend himself and finally though he comes to the mystery but too late, and this does not help to avoid the tragedy. Noah Cross in the movie is narcissistic and power hungry. His representation of the power that if you have enough money to influence then you can do anything without any consequences. So this brings us to the traditional hard boiled detective hero who isolates himself from society both the civilized and corrupt because he can't distinguish between them and doesn't take sides as he doesn't want to take a wrong side. The society is so deep in corruption and you can never be sure if you are helping the good guys or criminals. When there is so much evil and corruption hiding all around you sometimes the ignorance is an alliance but Jake doesn't follow his own advice which he gave to the fake Mrs. Mulwray "let the sleeping dogs lay and you better off not knowing " because he is embarrassed that he got fooled. The classic private eye hero, the carrier of a subjective point of view, did not look back at the corrupt institutions of justice and itself imposed punishment for those who insulted innocence. But the closer the hero of Jack Nicholson approached the solution of the mystery the more he felt like a loser who could not punish the villain and help the victim since it was no longer a matter of a particular villain but of total evil. In the place like Chinatown where inactions encouraged letting emotions provoke you to action can be dangerous. Jake's try to keep Evelyn from being hurt by letting her to get away and stopping Escobar only making sure she gets hurt by giving Walsh clear shot. Jakes expression of stunt horror and disbelief as his powerlessness becomes clear in this way Chinatown is a macrocosm of the world we live in. Like 1930's LA the world was run by the few and people had no choice but to live with how they choose to run it and the only reasonable response to the powerlessness is detachment.  By the way, it is worth noting that the entourage of neo-noir can develop both during the classical noir 30-50’s, and in any other era, including modernity. Polanski and his followers showed that the neo-noir always reflects on the philosophy of the classical noir. Samples past neo-noir, retro especially insist on the problem of repeating the style, time codes, images, in the absence of uniqueness.



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