Neo Noir is a blanket term used to describe film noirs produced after the classic period 1940 – 1958 (this time frame takes Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958) as the end of the classic period). The trouble with defining neo noir goes back to the problems defining film noir itself, what is it, what does it mean what does the definition of the term cover – does it include serial killer films, horror? I define film noir as films that have a pervasive darkness – literal, physical and moral, a fatalistic tone and a pervasive sense of predetermination. Neo noir continues the look and feel of film noir, but there are distinct divisions within neo noir itself; retro noir recreates the period, costumes and mood of classic era film noir often following the classic noir template of private detective led astray by a femme fatale, complete with voice-over and flashbacks i.e. Chinatown (1974); straight neo noir takes the narrative and stylistic conventions and places them firmly within a contemporary setting i.e. Body Heat (1981); and revisionist noir takes the conventions of noir and either twists them or shifts them into a different genre i.e. Blade Runner (1982).
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