3 Neo-Noir Movies That Place Old Themes In Modern Times

Friday, December 2 by Joseph Gibson

film noir

One of the reasons film noir is such an enduringly popular film movement is its handling of universal themes including oral weakness, crime, revenge, violence, etc. So it makes sense that the same things that made classic movies of the 1940s and 50s so enduring, would also work well in the modern era. Here are three neo-nor movies that take those old themes and place them in modern times. These movies may be in color, and have more modern dress and hair styles, but the themes are as grey as their black-and-white predecessors.

point blank lee marvin

"Point Blank." This movie takes some of the archetypes of film noir—a coldhearted violent man out for revenge, the criminals who wronged him, the femme fatale—and sharpens them into a point by stripping away all the unnecessary trappings that movies are often cluttered with. Instead, you just have Lee Marvin, walking angrily from place to place, beating people up and asking "where's my money?" If that doesn't appeal to you, why are you reading this?

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	<strong>"Memento." </strong>Another hallmark of film noir is the flashback. But what happens if you don't have any memory to flash back to? That question is at the center of "<a href=Memento," which is about a man who can only remember things in five-minute increments before losing all his memories. The condition is the result of a brutal attack, which his wife didn't survive. As a result the man spends the rest of his days wandering the country hunting for her killer, tattooing relevant information all over his body. This isn't a neo-noir full of fedoras and '40s slang, but the old themes still shine through.

se7en

"Fincher's film "Se7en" doesn't just get the old themes of noir right, but the look as well. For instance, it always seems to be raining, and even though the movie is in color, it looks like one shade of grey after another. Two cops (played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) are investigating a particularly nasty series of murders which carried out not for revenge or money, but to make a point. The killer is murdering people who are guilty of the seven deadly sins. The way his grand scheme plays out is classic noir in the way that it hinges on the basic moral weaknesses that are inside all of us.

These three neo-noir movies aren't exactly sunny entertainment, but if you're in the mood for classic (and dark) themes in a more modern setting, they should scratch you right were you itch. Enjoy, and remember to steer clear of any dangerous-looking blonde women or revenge-seeking tough guys.

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