Top 10 Film Noir

By November 22, 2011Top 10 Lists

The wonderful book “Film Noir” by Andrew Spicer defines “film noir” as a “cycle of films that share a similar iconographical, visual style, narrative strategies, subject matter and characterisation.” The iconography includes images of the city at night, rainy pavements, gaudy nightclubs and lavish apartments. The visual style normally involves high contrast lighting which creates the shadows that often come through blinds and creates sinister, shadowy figures on walls. Odd angles and wide-angle lenses are used habitually. The patterning of the highly-complex narratives is created by first-person voice-over, flashbacks, ellipses and inconclusive or ambiguous endings. The principle protagonists are often an alienated, male anti-hero and the deceitful femme fatale. Fear, paranoia and sexual desire run amok in the noir world. But of course…film noir fans will already be accustomed to these tropes.  For those of you who don’t, here is your chance to learn a bit more about this hugely influential and entertaining genre, and perhaps give you a place to start. Trench coats at the ready!

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