Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cigarette? Smoking!

Before this unit, I didn't even know film noir existed, but I have been opened up to a whole new world of darkness, gloom, crime and unjust deeds! As if high school wasn't enough...but seriously, despite it's depressing tone, film noir was probably my favorite unit so far, which was very unexpected, here's why I think I like it.

The plots of all the movies were so addicting, they draw you in and you can't look away, no matter how horrible it is. One sadistic action goes on to the next and so on, until we reach the exciting conclusion, which is unpredictably predictable, meaning, you know it's all gonna turn out bad in the end, but you hope it won't. So plot is great, enticing, but not amazing in that I probably wouldn't want to watch any of the movies more than twice.

I think this particular fact is mostly because the characterization is weak. I get pulled into the story, but I have no interest in the main character's well-being. Maybe this is because the whole time I know he's gonna die anyways, or maybe it's because he's not a very intriguing character in general. Either way, the characters are a little dull, in contrast with the lighting, which is brilliant.

The strategically placed shadows and the Venetian blinds are thrown onto the screen and it is SO satisfying. There is always something to notice about the lighting in the films, it constantly keeps your eyes busy, trying to decipher what's what and who's who in the shot. Basically, it makes me feel pretty smart to talk about how much I like the lighting, not to mention I actually really do like the lighting, so it's all a good situation in general.

In conclusion, film noir=good because of the above stated reasons.


Benta L said...

I agree with you in that, I'm always waiting for a good ending and it never comes. That's why I don't like these films so much. The fog silhouettes and the smoke coming from the cigarettes drew my attention(You mentioned it in your title). Shouldn't they all be dying of lung cancer?


Rina said...

Gotta love that line.

I totally agree with you that I really wasn't expecting film noir to win me over the way it did.

I suppose I can agree with your comment about dull characters as far as Out of the Past and Kiss Me Deadly are concerned--but it really hit me hard when Evelyn Mulwray was killed in Chinatown after going through everything she did.

I'm not craving another viewing of Kiss Me Deadly, but I think I could handle one more of Out of the Past because of all the great lines... and probably several more of Chinatown because I really loved that one and thought it was the greatest of the three films.

I have to agree with you about the lighting though. Some of the shots are just spectacular. Definitely turning into an art of film nerd over here.

Taylor W. said...

i agree with you that film noirs plot overpowers the character building of the film and the characters arent really that much in depth. I like endings that are happy, or bring justice to people. Film noir does this very well and it keeps you intrigued until you finally figure out what happens in the end which is usually good. Good job!

Rima H said...

You really nailed this claire, this is exactly what i think too!! i mean ya i wouldn't watch them again just because i know how the whole crime ends and who gets served, but in chinatown i felt like i knew the detective and i really wanted him to live cuz he found out so much, he was kind of a good guy you know but overall you've pretty much summed it up in this post! great job!! :]

mn girl said...

Hiya Claire!
I loved this post. Totally agree with your obsession with venetian blinds... They are very cool and add to the whole "film noir" kind of feelings- very eerie but quite chic.
Also, I agree with you about the weak characterization. I totally didn't realize that until now! But yeah, you are right, film noir relies mostly on the intriguing plot.

:) amelia
p.s. cool title