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Film Noir - Essay Example

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The term was initially coined by Nino Frank, who described a highly stylized form of movies that Hollywood began producing following the wars and the Great Depression. The movies primarily revolved around criminal investigations and had a very dark tone. Some examples of Film Noir include The Set up and the Big Sleeper. Among some contemporary examples are Twelve Monkeys and Seven. Before Film Noir transcended into a distinctive genre, such movies were largely referred to as ‘melodramas’. Film Noir is primarily characterized by dark visual that matches the theme and the plot of the movie. D.O.A is one of the best examples of a Film Noir as it embodies all characteristics and elements of one. The movie is about a man who is slow-poisoned by a group of unknown and has only a small amount in which he must find out why was he killed and the people who were behind it. The plot to kill him is unusual and it contains a thrilling investigation that eventually unravels the elaborate intrigue that surrounds his death. The overall tone is quite dark and it shows some gaping flaws within in human beings, who are willing to kill anyone in order to conceal their own crimes. Even the characters and plot twists are somewhat cliched within the framework of this genre. For instance, the storyline is always centered on a criminal activity, mostly murder and its subsequent investigation that is carried out by cynical protagonist, usually a thick-skinned detective or a victim of circumstances, like the protagonist in D.O.A., who is forced to confront some of personal conflicts through the investigation of the case. The visual cues are adequate to classify D.O.A. as Film Noir; besides the color tone, the camera angles also play an integral part in building up the tension and to maximizing the suspense. The movie starts off with the camera following a man, who is walking into the police department. The man is the protagonist named Frank Bigelow trudging the police department to report his own murder. This is a classic cinematic stunt employed by the filmmaker, there is suspense from the beginning and the unconventional plot twist is ostensible as the man is trying to report his own murder. The camera angle largely alternates between low angle and a Dutch tilt. The latter involves a titled camera shot, which shows the distress or the psychological turmoil of the characters, whereas the former shot is taken from below the eye line, which is meant to take a full-length shot of the character, while skillful concealing eye contact that enhances the mysterious persona of each character (Conard and Porfiro 135-137). Even the DOA includes many lower angle shots, whereby the mystery surrounding the character is amplified. These shots intensify the character’s emotions that are being projected to the audience; as mystery and suspense serve as the core cinematic elements, only camera shots that are known to obscure part of the character’s face are incorporated by the filmmakers. As a matter of fact, Film Noir is vastly known for using unusual camera angles and special effects that underline the dark and gloomy tone of the story. The narrative structure of Film Noir has very distinct features, which sets it apart from other genres. The entire D.O.A. is told through Bigelow’s flashbacks, as he relates to the officers the perils he goes through in order to find his killers. It switches back and forth to provide the back-story of Bigelow and also showed the actual events that triggered the conflict of the story. Almost all noirs are popular for not following any chronological pattern in its narratives and the flow is often disrupted by the flash-backs and forwards, which is ...Show more
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Summary

“Film Noir” is a French term, which means ‘Black Film’. It encompassed classic Hollywood crime dramas that were made during the 40’s and 50’s.These movies had a major element of cynicism in them and character drives often were sexual in nature…
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