Film Noir Reviews
Night and The City (1950)
Although the narrative point of view is from the third person, crucially, we are in Harry Fabian’s shoes as his world unravels. While he’s on the run, we sense the conspiracy, we glimpse the gangsters lurking in the shadows. When his seedy pals sell him out one by one, we feel the noose tightening around his neck. And as dawn finally breaks and Harry must accept his fate, we mourn his ruin with the same bleak sense of relief.
Killing Them Softly (2012): Drowning In A Flood Of Hope And Change
When their underground poker operation gets robbed by bumbling amateurs, the Louisiana mob goes into crisis mode. Time to call in Jackie Cogan.
Little Caesar (1931): A Brutal Slice Of Early Noir
Little Caesar is based on the novel by W.R. Burnett and was adapted for the screen by Francis Edward Faragoh and Robert N. Lee. As a Pre-Code film, it was not subject to the same constraints as gangster movies that followed later in the decade. Distributed by Warner Brothers, Little Caesar earned nearly 300% of its total budget during its initial box office run. This wild success made Robinson an instant star and inspired a raft of lesser imitations.
Baby Face (1933): Baby Puts The Censors In The Corner
A decade before 'Double Indemnity,' Barbara Stanwyck brought the Pre-Code era to a controversial close with her sultry turn in Alfred E. Green’s 'Baby Face.'
City Streets (1931): Forgotten Cowboy Noir
During the second half of the 1930’s, it was common practice for studios to re-release abridged versions of older Pre-Code movies. In 1936, a redacted version of 'City Streets' was STILL rejected by censors, who complained the ineptitude of the film’s policemen was impossible to edit out. The absence of a viable re-release may explain its current status as a “forgotten film.”
Book Vs. Movie: Jim Thompson's 'The Killer Inside Me'
Published in 1952, 'The Killer Inside Me' marked Jim Thompson’s bold return to fiction after a brief stint working as a journalist.
The Public Enemy (1931): Pre-Code Beer And Blood
Any notion that The Public Enemy is some kind of docudrama can be dispelled by simply watching it. Although it uses historical events as framing devices, the film contains no factual information, nor are its characters facsimiles of real-life gangsters.
Tehran: This Spy Thriller Series Is The Gem Of Apple TV+
Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan) is a rookie Mossad agent tasked with infiltrating an Iranian power plant in advance of an Israeli air strike. As a hacker, her weapon of choice is a keyboard. But Tamar’s skills aren’t strictly digital. To complete her mission, she uses social engineering, impersonation, seduction, and if necessary—murder.
'Severance' on Apple TV: Stiller's Dystopian Series Baffles And Delights
Given the deluge of workplace dramas produced during the pandemic, grouping Severance with shows like The Dropout (2022), WeCrashed (2022) or Made For Love (2021) is a forgivable offence. But Severance is nothing like those other shows—namely because it’s much, much better.
Thief (1981): Burn The System To The Ground
Released internationally as “Violent Streets”, Thief debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palm d’Or. Following its full theatrical release in March 1981, the film earned 11.5 million and garnered positive reviews from audiences and critics. Retrospective critical assessments have framed Thief as an archetypal text in Mann’s broader cinematic corpus.