Film Noir literally meaning dark film is the term coined by French critics to describe the creeping darkness that they saw in a cycle of American films beginning in the 1940s. This darkness was a reflection of the social and cultural uncertainty that pervaded WWII era America. The darkness was expressed visually in the dark imagery and expressionistic shadows and in the subject matter which has been traditionally crime/murder stories. Traditionally the setting of Noir has been urban, hard edged cities that never sleep. The classic era of Film Noir fell roughly between 1940 and 1960, when it morphed into Neo-Noir.
Neo-Noir falls into three distinct categories retro – recreating the setting and elements of classic era Film Noir, revisionist – where the conventions are pushed to their limits and/or transplanted into a different genre, and the straight Neo-Noir which updates the elements of Film Noir to a contemporary time and place.