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Non-Review Review: Outrage (Autoreiji)

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “foreign noir” – a look at some of the neo-noir films from outside America.

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

Outrage (also known as Autoreiji) is the latest film from actor/director/writer Kitano “Beat” Takeshi. He’s known to Western film fans perhaps best for his role in Battle Royale, but that significantly undersells his talent and his prolific career. He’s probably better known to wider audiences for his role as “Count Takeshi” on the gameshow Takeshi’s Castle (which became all the rage over here a few years ago). Outrage is essentially a Japanese crime thriller, and it follows the typical structure that one might expect from a conventional crime film – all the classic themes are there, from pride to arrogance to honour to betrayal – but what makes the film especially interesting is the way that it deals with the inherent paradox of the Japanese Yakuza.

Somebody's going to be dying their hair...

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Non-Review Review: Infernal Affairs

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “foreign noir” – a look at some of the neo-noir films from outside America.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Hong Kong classic, Infernal Affairs is perhaps most recognisable to Western audiences as the film which inspired Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. The film finally won Scorsese a long overdue Oscar, but the raw materials he found himself working with certainly contributed in some manner. The movie succeeds by taking a wonderfully original plot that still fits within the themes of the best crime stories, and telling it in a wonderfully engaging manner.

Go to Hell...

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Non-Review Review: Sin City

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “comics noir” – noir filtered through comic book panels.

Sin City is, I suppose, one of those films that lives or dies based solely on its visual style. Although the heavy hardboiled atmosphere compliments the stark black and white contrast, it’s those beautifully and meticulously staged images which come into the mind when one thinks of the Frank Miller adaptation. Based on the writer and artist’s collection of noir-themed comic books set in (Ba)Sin City, Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation manages to faithfully capture the tone and style of its source material. Being honest, it’s one of those movies which can’t help but catch your eye – it’ll just follow up with a punch to the gut.

That little red dress...

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Gotham After Dark: Batman Noir

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “comics noir” – noir filtered through comic book panels.

More than any other mainstream superhero, Batman is strongly linked with the film noir tradition. Dating back as early as his first appearances, straight through to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader has always inhabited a world which seems as fragile and broken as any noir protagonist. Just because he trades a trench coat for a cape (which, you’ll note, he makes a point to wear around him rather than just behind him) and a fedora for a cowl, don’t underestimate Bruce Wayne’s flirtation with the darker side of cinema.

The Dark Night?

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Miami Vice: Brother’s Keeper (Pilot)

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “a brighter shade of noir” – neo-noir that eschews the dark aesthetic for which the genre is famous.

If I ask you to close your eyes and think of Miami Vice, I’m fairly share I can guess what comes to mind, in no particular order. Speedboats, stubble, sunsets in Florida, the music of Jan Hammer, In The Air Tonight, sharp suits and lots of pastel colours. In fairness, a lot of this is very fair – Miami Vice was a show that had a very polished and practiced superficial exterior, and it’s that aspect of the television show that worked its way into popular consciousness. However, looking back at the show – and especially that first season (and maybe a little bit of the second season) – I think it might also be one of the best neo-noir television shows ever produced. Don’t worry, I’m not being controversial for the sake of being controversial.

Well, not just.

No more Mr. Vice Guy...

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Non-Review Review: Insomnia (2002)

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “a brighter shade of noir” – neo-noir that eschews the dark aesthetic for which the genre is famous.

How do you make a film noir set in a community where the sun never sets? You get the Swedes to do it, and then you ask Christopher Nolan to remake it.

I love a good mist-erie...

Note: Unlike most of my noir-related posts, this review will include spoilers for the film. In fairness, you could argue that these are the type of spoilers included in a run-of-the-mill synopsis – but better safe than sorry. If you’re looking for a recommendation, go see this film.

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Non-Review Review: Dark City (Director’s Cut)

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “cyber noir” – the unlikely combination of sci-fi and film noir to make an oh-so-tasty film.

A man jolts awake in a bathtub in a strange motel, and seems somewhat surprised by his surroundings. As seems to be mandatory in all good sleazy establishments, the light bulb on the ceiling swings back and forth – teasing illumination around the otherwise dark tiled room, but never showing everything. Confused, the resident stumbles to his feet, and searches frantically for what must be his clothes. However, there’s an unpleasant surprising waiting for him inside the anonymous cheap room: a dead body of a beautiful woman, carved and cut up in a mysterious spiral pattern. Our protagonist recoils, horrified by the discovery, and leaves the seedy dive as soon as possible. He assures himself, repeatedly, that it isn’t what it looked like. He isn’t a killer, he’s a good man.

However, it would be much easier to make that argument if he could remember anything before waking up in the water. Even his own name.

One to watch...

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