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#NOIRVEMBER

A MONTH-LONG CELEBRATION OF THE SHADOWY WORLD OF FILM NOIR

FILM FEATURE
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
7th November 2020

If you're a film buff, you know November becomes "Noirvember," a month-long celebration of the thrilling, shadowy world of film noir. Film fans on social media have been putting on their trench coats and hats to document their film noir journeys under #Noirvember, highlighting the best and worst of a genre that defined the 1940s, saw a brief resurgence in the '90s, and still endures today (as neo-noir).

These films focus on morally ambiguous characters, private eyes and femme fatales. An emphasis on crime, greed, and fate were established. Aesthetically, the films were noted for their interplay of fog and shadow and use of techniques established during the German Expressionism movement.

Looking for an entry point into the genre? SWITCH has collected its reviews of neo-noirs (and films inspired by classic noir techniques) from all over the world.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
As we have come to expect from him, David Fincher has, once again, kicked the cinema in the teeth and changed the game for everyone around him.
Looper - Outwit, outplay, outsmart... yourself
LOOPER
Outwit, outplay, outsmart... yourself
This film is original, ambitious, intense and unexpected in every way. ‘Looper’ is a rare character driven sci-fi story, a key element that is often missed by the genre's filmmakers.
Mystery Road - Up the garden path
MYSTERY ROAD
Up the garden path
'Mystery Road' is a film of unrealised potential, with the only real action coming in the final five minutes in a surprisingly intense Mexican standoff. Sadly, it’s too little too late.
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For - Death on a dark, rainy night
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
Death on a dark, rainy night
'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For' doesn't quite live up to the original, but it's not far off - and it's so goddamn fun, you won't mind a bit.
A Walk Among the Tombstones - Neeson's journey down a dark, twisted rabbit hole
A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES
Neeson's journey down a dark, twisted rabbit hole
‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ follows Neeson’s current career path nicely with a similar trajectory to his recent work - only this one is grittier and not as gratuitously violent.
Nightcrawler - Blurred lines
NIGHTCRAWLER
Blurred lines
There are moments throughout the film that are hard to watch, and you walk away feeling dirty and uncomfortable within your own skin - but only because the film has achieved exactly what it wants.
The Nice Guys - Gosling & Crowe's buddy noir gets upstaged by a 13-year-old
THE NICE GUYS
Gosling & Crowe's buddy noir gets upstaged by a 13-year-old
‘The Nice Guys’ is by no means a perfect film - nor is it the best on anyone's résumé - but this trio are electric on screen together.
Goldstone - An impressive piece of Australian noir
GOLDSTONE
An impressive piece of Australian noir
It’s an incredibly impressive piece of Australian cinema, one that balances technical skill, important questions and edge-of-your seat entertainment.
Basic Instinct - 25 years of the erotic thriller
BASIC INSTINCT
25 years of the erotic thriller
Looking back 25 years ago, ‘Basic Instinct’ constituted one of several key moments in contemporary cinema where the envelope of what was permissible on mainstream screens was visibly pushed a little further.
Wind River - Leaves you cold
WIND RIVER
Leaves you cold
The action in the film is muscular and aggressive, finding dynamic and surprising ways to showcase intimate battle sequences (as well as some creative ways of getting into them).
Blade Runner 2049 - A visionary sequel
BLADE RUNNER 2049
A visionary sequel
Giant cityscapes hum, throb and teem with the outlandish: streets blitzed by neon, strafed by drizzle, monstered by those holographic geishas and ballerinas. It is beautiful stuff.
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
REVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATER
The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
It performed the rare feat of pondering its inquiry through its tortured protagonist, whilst simultaneously having sequences of thrilling action. Perhaps that's why its legacy endures, 20 years later.
Samui Song - A twisty, noir-ish exploration of female identity in Thailand
SAMUI SONG
A twisty, noir-ish exploration of female identity in Thailand
It's handsomely filmed and features fine performances from a well-selected cast, even though the characters aren’t given much obvious psychological depth by the script, and their motives remain fairly straightforward.
Wrath of Silence - Action-filled mystery and scathing social critique
WRATH OF SILENCE
Action-filled mystery and scathing social critique
If you’re looking for a clever noir mystery with plenty of brawling, with a script that tears into China’s social fabric, keep your eyes and ears peeled for ‘Wrath of Silence’.
A Simple Favour - Brazen melodrama proves the right amount of flavoursome
A SIMPLE FAVOUR
Brazen melodrama proves the right amount of flavoursome
This is not the film you’re probably expecting. While it can be a tad uneven, if you choose to go along with it, it’s hard to not crack a grin.
Widows - A captivating thriller beyond measure
WIDOWS
A captivating thriller beyond measure
It's a film permeating with lofty themes with substance sharing equal billing with its thrills. ‘Widows’ is a gut-punch of a film but for all the best reasons, and one of the best films of the year.
Destroyer - A gritty, damaging neo-noir
DESTROYER
A gritty, damaging neo-noir
Kidman has always taken on challenging roles, and nearly always delivered an interesting performance. Her performance elevates what could have been a standard “dirty cop” drama into something unique.
Under The Silver Lake - Not so deep
UNDER THE SILVER LAKE
Not so deep
David Robert Mitchell wanted to throw as many left-field camera angles, score swells, and strange attempts at humour at a wall to see what would stick. By the time the credits roll it just feels like a whole lot of treading water for no reason.
Dragged Across Concrete - A hypnotically violent and excessive crime flick
DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE
A hypnotically violent and excessive crime flick
Even at 160 minutes and with ample dialogue, it's not once tedious or dull. It's the 'Before Sunrise' of dirty cop films. Genuinely thrilling, ugly, bleak, brutal and vile in the best ways possible.
Dreamland - Surrealist noir
DREAMLAND
Surrealist noir
Equal parts violent, tragic, comic, silly and surreal, this is an extremely strange movie, and that strangeness will either endear it to you or alienate you.
Long Day's Journey into Night - Art and technology meet in a dream-like film noir
LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT
Art and technology meet in a dream-like film noir
The protagonist’s myth-like search into his physical and metaphysical past is a feat of filmmaking that's as impressive as it is vital, where dream and fantasy and longing flow together.
Locusts - A low-key, low-down thriller
LOCUSTS
A low-key, low-down thriller
It might be an imperfect movie with a few scenes that ring hollow, but the moments that work are fuller than many whole films.
The Wild Goose Lake - Supremely stylish neon-noir
THE WILD GOOSE LAKE
Supremely stylish neon-noir
Owing a debt to Nicolas Winding Refn, Diao Yinan's sophomore feature may be little more than an exercise in style, but it's certainly a dazzling and mythic one.
Motherless Brooklyn - A neo-noir set in 1950s New York
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
A neo-noir set in 1950s New York
There is nothing inherently wrong with this film, bar some odd edits and framing choices, and Edward Norton tackles the material fairly well, creating a great tribute to the noir era of filmmaking.
Burning Kiss - Baroque, eye-catching Australian neo-noir
BURNING KISS
Baroque, eye-catching Australian neo-noir
A film noir with noticeable nods to David Lynch and Oliver Stone, the film is a huge melting pot of garish stylistic influences that, while never quite cohering, is riveting nonetheless.
Sorry, Wrong Number - An inventive slice of 1940s film noir
SORRY, WRONG NUMBER
An inventive slice of 1940s film noir
Its narrative, visual inventiveness and a thoroughly engaging plot make it an enjoyable journey into 1940s film noir.
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