Books and Movies Reviews

Double Idemnity

Dim rooms with light severing through venetian blinds, alleys cluttered with garbage, deserted warehouses where dust hangs in the air, rain-slicked streets with water still running in the gutters, dark detective offices overlooking busy streets. This is film noir, a perfect blend of form and content, where the hopelessness of the situations is echoed in the visual style, which douses the world in shadows and only scarce bursts of sunlight.

Film noir is a style of American films that evolved in the 1940s, and lasted until about 1960.The primary moods of classic film noir are melancholy, estrangement, bleakness, failure, pessimism, moral corruption, evil, guilt and paranoia. The females in film noir are usually femme fatales – mysterious, double-crossing, gorgeous, unloving, predatory, unreliable, irresponsible, manipulative and desperate women. Film noir films, often in grays, blacks and whites, show the dark and inhumane side of human nature with cynicism and doomed love, and they emphasize the unhealthy, shadowy, dark and sadistic sides of the human experience.A typical film noir portrays an everyday man; living a normal life, until he meets a mysterious and seductive woman, the femme fatale, who entangles him into a web of deceit, crime and corruption from which he can never disentangle himself.

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The femme fatale in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity is Phyllis Dietrichson, and the likeable but amoral male character is Walter Neff.From her determined heels clicking down the stairs at herfirst meeting with Neff, to her planned perfectly calculated deadly finale, she is cool and in complete control. No pity, no excuses, no nerves. Phyllis is attractive, and with the appeal of the smooth, the powerful, the fatal. She's the ultimate of confidence, but inside, there's a steel trap coiled and waiting to spring. In her initial meeting with Neff she plans her moves for effect. She uses her anklet, her perfume, a…


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