Unfortunately you’ll find very few Blu-ray or DVD releases in May from the “classic” era of film noir, but next month does offer some nice neo-noir titles and a couple of complete TV series sets. Let’s get started:
The guys over at Pure Cinema Podcast recently covered their top neo-noir movies, pairing them with classic film noir titles that share some type of connection whether it’s plot, theme, or some other common element. It’s a great show and I highly recommend listening to it. I enjoyed it so much that I was inspired to come up with my own list of neo-noir/classic noir pairings:
The Drop (2014)
Directed by Michaël R. Roskam
Produced by Blair Breard, Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, David Greenbaum, Mike Larocca, Chuck Ryant
Cinematography by Nicolas Karakatsanis
Edited by Christopher Tellefsen
Screenplay by Dennis Lehane based on his short story “Animal Rescue”
20th Century Fox DVD – library (1:47)
The Drop barely registered on my radar when it was released in theaters two years ago. I don’t go to theaters much (preferring to watch movies at home) and tend to gravitate towards films made between 1940 and 1980. But my friend Michael Kronenberg recommended this one, and since he was right on target with his recommendation of the Mesrine films, I figured I was in for a pretty good movie. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m stunned that more people don’t talk about this superb crime picture. Not only does The Drop contain James Gandolfini’s last film performance (which is excellent), it also features a bravura performance by Tom Hardy.
River (TV 2015) Created by Abi Morgan
Netflix (6 episodes, approx. one hour each)
It’s a show you probably haven’t seen and probably haven’t even heard anyone talking about, which is understandable. With all of the TV shows to choose from out there, this Netflix original (borrowed from BBC One) could easily slip past you. But it shouldn’t.
Lost Highway (1997)
Directed by David Lynch
Produced by Deepak Nayar, Tom Sternberg, Mary Sweeney
Screenplay by David Lynch, Barry Gifford
Cinematography by Peter Deming
Edited by Mary Sweeney
Casting by Johanna Ray, Elaine J. Huzzar
Music by Angelo Badalamenti
Universal UK Blu-ray
The David Lynch Project Part VII
Here’s a statement that will probably be disputed among several readers: David Lynch’s films really aren’t that hard to understand. Oh sure, we may not know what every symbol or image represents (if anything), we may not know if a certain character is a real person or a representation of something else, on and on. Such things we can debate forever, but the basic stories of most of Lynch’s films are pretty clear if you understand one thing:
Other than a couple of reissues, May looks to be a pretty light month for film noir Blu-ray releases, but there are a few interesting neo-noir/noir-related films. If you know of any noir releases I’ve missed, please let me know!
Insomnia (1997) Erik Skjoldbjærg
Criterion Collection DVD (library)
Watching Insomnia, you have to keep reminding yourself that this was Erik Skjoldbjærg’s feature film debut. It certainly doesn’t have the look or feel of a first-time director, although Skjoldbjærg had completed shorter films previous to Insomnia (two of which are included on the Criterion release). As far as I can tell, none of Skjoldbjærg’s subsequent films have had the influence or impact of Insomnia.