Top Ten Thursdays: Film Noir

I have decided to do something different with my Thursday posts, partly to get more Google Search results, but also for a point of reference to future questions about favorite films in various genres or by certain directors.  Given this, I plan to create a top ten list each Thursday with a theme, and for the inaugural week I have decided to go with my personal favorite genre film noir.  As you may know film noir is distinguished by its gritty style, heavy shadowing and often crime related narrative.  However, these films often focus on existential crises, particularly as to how a single person justifies their existence in an indifferent world of contingency and chance.  Most of these films are brutal, offer little sign of redemption and posit a cheating wins ideology, particularly for seductive women and shrewd underworld bosses.  Here, after much consideration is my top ten list for the genre of film noir:

10. D.O.A. (1950)

This is the quintessential noir film.  It involves shootouts, corrupt police work and most importantly a futile death of the main character. 

9. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Quentin Tarantino's homage to the genre is to date one of the best, and most well known, noir movies.

8. The Long Goodbye (1973)

Elliot Gould playing the role of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe results in one of the hippest movies of the 1970's

7. Detour (1945)

One of the lesser known film noir masterpieces, Detour provides the prime example of arbitrary interactions which have dismal consequences, and at only an hour and some change it packs a quick and heavy punch.

6. The Killing (1956)

One of two film noir offerings by the great Stanley Kubrick, The Killing is a brilliant study in the intricacies, and fallacies, of underworld heist groups.

5. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

The Maltese Falcon is perhaps the most prolific of film noir movies, particularly given that it combines the work of both Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre, each known for other movies involving inner city turmoil.

4. Touch of Evil (1958)

This is Orson Welles' vision of crime, no elaboration needed.

3. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

This is a textbook film noir in every sense...excluding its post apocalyptic ending of course.

2. Blade Runner (1982)

Ridley Scott's fantasy neo-noir is a how-to course in cinematography and narrative, with one of the greatest monologues in film ever.

1. The Naked City (1948)

Jules Dassin is the auteur of film noir; his works combine the intimacies of the individual and their ultimate downfall as it relates to an unyielding and indifferent city.  This movie proved so successful that a television series emerged to help tell rest of the eight million stories in The Naked City.

Honorable Mention:

M (1931)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Breathless (1960)
Dark City (1998)
The Departed (2006)

No comments:

Post a Comment