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Five Great Neo-Noirs

by on 2012/03/01

It seems the year gone by since last “Noirch” — here and here — has flown, and we’re back again, prepping stacks of classic film noir contenders for their mug shots. We’ve done our fair share of such reviews, and there are plenty more to come. It’s a genre as geeky as gothic, and we’ve yet to tire of it.

But Marches haven’t been the only time when we’ve ventured into this world. Gritty, stylistic tales of the flawed have appeared in other months, when we focused on genres as unlikely as the Christmas holidays or school. They just keep turning up like bad pennies, but in the coolest possible way.

So here’s a jump-start, a quick review of some wayward neo-noirs, those pieces carrying on the tradition of their decades-old inspirations. Whether drama, romance or, especially, science fiction, these five are all justifiably solid examples, if only the tip of the metaphorical iceberg.

And though they don’t appear on the list, I can’t resist two honourable mentions: Brick (2005) I haven’t seen, but Gru has vouched for its success, and Trancers AKA Future Cop (1985) is well worth a look as a cheesy piece of hilarity, for the noir aficionado in the mood for a bit of a treat.

Blade Runner (1982) on 2011/08/16

* * * *

Blade Runner asks about or suggests numerous philosophical matters. Must a predator resemble its prey? Is their likeness inevitable? What is the relationship between creators, creations, and their flaws? Are memories worthless — or worth less, for that matter — if they are not real? And what makes something real? What constitutes living? Feeling?”

A History of Violence (2005) on 2011/07/12

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“Viggo Mortensen’s portrayal of Tom Stall is exquisitely layered and complex. Every step you take you take with Tom raises more questions than it answers. Who is Tom Stall?

“The mystery will send shivers down your spine. Which is just exactly what Cronenberg can do like no other director.”

Mulholland Drive (2001) on 2011/11/30

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“Relentlessly compelling, and always interesting, Mulholland Drive is worth seeing not just because you should, but because you might actually enjoy it. It’s weird, no doubt, but also ecstatic, intriguing, interpretive, hilarious, horrifying, and heartbreaking.”

Strange Days (1995) on 2010/12/30

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“The film hits many noir markers through the course of its running . . . but this slice of noir is decidedly not your grandpa’s.

“Long story short: I’ll take Strange Days over a dozen Avatars, any day.” 

The Terminator (1984) on 2011/01/22

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“Another B-movie raised nearly to an “A” game, The Terminator fuses a dystopic outlook with a sleek economy. Its successors — even with the benefit of hindsight — never managed to match it, let alone surpass it. The only one to rival it would prove to be its sequel.”

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  1. A Geek’s Month in Review: March 2012 « Geek vs Goth

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