If you are a film buff of any sort, we are sure that you’ve heard of the term neo-noir at least once in passing. While it sounds like a good piece of French pastry, we assure you that it is not. Well, we’ve at least got the French part right – if you are to ask us. Neo-noir is a modern-day revival of noir films, a term coined by French film critics Raymond Borde and Étienne Chaumeton. They have a special, almost instantly recognizable aesthetic to them and are dark and gloomy in a very artistic way.
These films are great in number and are made in almost every genre there is. If you are looking to get into neo-noir films, rest assured that we’ve got you covered. We’ve done a deep dive into this world of cinema and have come up with 6 movies that will give you an idea of what this kind of filmmaking constitutes. These movies are interesting and entertaining and great works of art in ways you might have never imagined before. So get ready to be introduced to 6 of the best films in this category and read right on!
1. Bad Times at the El Royale
This is one of the latest ventures in the category and one of the most popular in recent times. The movie has carved its mark in the neo-noir genre with its great casting and an entertaining plotline. Drew Goddard and needless to say have directed the film; his massive fandom has given Bad Times a stellar reception at the El Royale. The movie first premiered in 2018 and has some of the most well-known faces in the industry as part of the cast. This includes:
- Jeff Bridges as Father Daniel Flynn
- Dakota Johnson as Emily Summerspring
- Cynthia Erivo as Darlene Sweet
- Lewis Pullman as Miles Miller
- Chris Hemsworth as Billy Lee
- Jon Hamm as Laramie Seymour Sullivan
- Cailee Spaeny as Rose Summerspring
- Xavier Dolan as Buddy Sunday and
- Nick Offerman as Felix O’Kelly, among others.
The plot of this film follows a set of events that happen in the year 1969. Seven strangers meet a very gloomy-looking hotel but little do we know the horrible secrets of the past that it hides. Unaware of this little element, they carry on with their daily lives, but these dark secrets soon make themselves known like all things. In a great sou, they should now figure out a way out of this. The movie is entertaining and a great watch for people who are trying to get into the genre.
2. Blade Runner
This is one of the more popular films on the list and has been for quite some time now. This is because the film created a cultural reset of sorts when it first premiered in 1982. Blade Runner is a science fiction movie to top them all. Ridley Scott directed the film, and it went on the have several remakes and spin-offs associated with it. Nonetheless, the original always remains a classic. Blade Runner features the following stars as part of the main cast:
- Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard
- Sean Young as Rachael
- Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty
- James Hong as Chew
- Edward James Olmos as Gaff
- M. Emmet Walsh as Bryant
- Daryl Hannah as Pris
- Joe Turkel as Eldon Tyrell and
- William Sanderson as J.F. Sebastian, among others.
The plot of the movie is one that will go on to be remade in several cinematic formats. Blade Runner follows the story of Rick Deckard, who is a former police official. Things take a weird turn when he joins a team of agents looking to eradicate many violent androids. As the movie progresses, we see a lot of existential questions arise in the mind of Deckard. This film is truly ahead of its times and woes the audience even today. This is a great pick if you are looking to get your hands on a classic in the neo-noir genre.
3. Basic Instinct
If there is any film off this list that we can vouch for, it would be this. You will not be disappointed with Basic Instinct, and we stand by this statement of ours. The movie first premiered in 1992 and is a classic in its own right. This thriller has a whole set of films that came after it, and together, they make one exciting franchise to watch. The movie was directed by Paul Verhoeven and featured Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, and many other leadership roles.
The film’s plot follows the events that take place after Detective Nick tales up the task of investigating the murder of Johnny Boz. In his list of suspects is Catherine – Johnny’s ex-girlfriend. In a very unforeseen turn of events, Nick falls in love with Catherine while investigating the murder. Will this development be a threat to the investigation that’s underway? You will have to watch the film to find out!
This is the oldest film on the list and possibly the best known. Chinatown is truly one for the lover of cinema in you. Directed by Roman Polański, this movie dropped in 1974. You would think a film this old would have lost popularity by now, but it has certainly not. This film belongs to the thriller genre and features stars Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston. It is a cult favorite and has garnered a very loyal fan following over the years.
The plot of the movie follows Mrs. Mulwray and her suspicion surrounding her husband’s infidelity. She hires Detective Jake to spy on him and find out what exactly it is that’s going on behind the scenes. But when Mr. Mulwary suddenly dies, Jake soon realizes that he has signed up for more than he was made aware of. He should now work himself out of this mess while trying to figure out who is behind all of this. The movie is fast-paced and is for you if a thriller is your thing!
5. Taxi Driver
You already know that this film is one for the Gods with Martin Scorsese behind the direction. What’s more? The cast is not one to be trifled with either. In 1976, the movie featured popular stars like Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, and Cybill Shepherd. It is critically acclaimed and is one of the most popular films in the neo-noir genre.
The movie follows Travis – who is played by a young Robert De Niro. He is an ex-marine, and he now drives a taxi in the very busy New York City. Things take a turn when he saves an underage girl from her pimp – an event that leads him to want to wipe the city clean of its evils. The movie is dramatic in all the right ways and is for anyone looking for a great work of art, not in this but any genre one could ever think of!
This is a noir film that everyone should have the pleasure of witnessing at least once in their lifetime. It is truly a great work of fiction and should be considered as such. This is a film that is so underrated that you would wonder where all the fans of good cinema really are. The movie came out in 2005 but is a film for any day and age. The mystery surrounding the plot is palpable and makes for an extraordinary viewing experience. Brick was directed by Rian Johnson, who has also written the screenplay for the film. The film features the following stars as part of the cast:
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brendan Frye
- Nora Zehetner as Laura Dannon
- Lukas Haas as the Pin
- Noah Fleiss as Tugger and
- Matt O’Leary as The Brain, among others.
This film’s plot follows the life of a teenager called Brendan Frye – played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His life is like any other young loner until it isn’t. One day, he receives a very mysterious phone call from his ex-girlfriend, and when he arrives at the scene, he learns that she had been murdered. To find the killer, he should associate with some of the most popular kids in school. One thing leads to another, and we soon see him facing some really rugged characters, including a drug dealer who has been lurking in their vicinity. The movie is entertaining and leaves you with a sense of awe once you are done with it!