Neo-noir is a revival of film noir, a genre that had originally flourished during and after World War II in the United States—roughly from 1940 to 1960.

Here's a breakdown of what "Neo noir" means:

  • Neo: This prefix comes from the Greek word for "new," indicating that neo-noir is a fresh take on classic film noir.

  • Noir: This French term translates to "dark film" and refers to the characteristically dark and pessimistic mood, themes, and visual style of classic film noir.

So, neo-noir films borrow heavily from the style and themes of classic film noir, but with a modern twist. Here are some key characteristics of neo-noir:

  • Morally ambiguous protagonists: Unlike the clear-cut heroes and villains of classic noir, neo-noir protagonists are often flawed and morally complex. They may be private detectives, criminals, or ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

  • Femme fatales: The seductive and dangerous women who manipulate men in classic noir are still present in neo-noir, but they may be more complex and nuanced.

  • Corruption and conspiracy: Neo-noir often explores themes of corruption, conspiracy, and societal decay, reflecting the anxieties of the post-war and Cold War eras.

  • Visual style: Neo-noir films often use chiaroscuro lighting, Dutch angles, and rain-soaked streets to create a sense of atmosphere and unease.

Here are some famous examples of neo-noir films:

  • Chinatown (1974)

  • Blade Runner (1982)

  • L.A. Confidential (1997)

  • The Departed (2006)

  • Brick (2006)

Neo-noir continues to be a popular genre today, with films like Drive (2011), Prisoners (2013), and The Batman (2022) all incorporating elements of neo-noir style and storytelling.

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