Noir and Lynch

A while back, I can’t remember if it was in an OMGW or here on the blog, there was a brief discussion led by Jane about the nature of noir.

In a review of the re-release DVD of Blue Velvet, Bill Wyman characterizes noir this way:

Lynch, with his perverse Oedipal fantasia established, takes on the conventions of the noir—in which our hero goes off in search of answers, compromises himself, and winds up finding out more than he bargained for.

Interesting way of looking at it, which, actually, isn’t far from the definition of the tragic hero….


About brclements

Professor Western Connecticut State University
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2 Responses to Noir and Lynch

  1. I especially like the "compromises himself" part and how you connect that to the tragic hero, Brian. Thinking it through… it occurs to me that those words serve to sharpen the difference between tragedy and noir. Consider Dennis Lehane's comment (which I posted here a month or so ago… it linked to a PW article)… in noir, the hero doesn't fall from great heights; he falls from the curb.Each protagonist get in his own way… in other words, noir is the poor man's tragedy.

  2. Derrick says:

    The best characters live in that space between clean and dirty.Blue Velvet is an amazing film and I love the way Wyman points out the use of sound, which is rather jarring at times. One of the signatures of Lynch is his characters awkwardness and original dialogue. In reading the article it seems as if Ebert’s cookie-cutter litmus test for film did him a disservice.Coincidently, I just read Raymond Chandler’s Big Sleep and watched Bogey play Marlowe. It has some great parallels to Blue Velvet. In the end, I’ve never quoted a film as much as Blue Velvet – a unique masterpiece!

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