The MoFo Top 100 Neo-noir Countdown

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More questions for you to ponder. Le Cercle Rouge is the fifth film from our recent Neo-noir Hall of Fame to make it.

#23. Le Cercle Rouge
#26. Sin City
#88. Red Rock West
#89. La Haine
#95. Shallow Grave

The other three are: Body Heat, Nightcrawler, and Tightrope. Do you think any of these three will make it?
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Body Heat and Nightcrawler, yes. Tightrope, no.
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Le Cercle is one of my favorite movies of all time by one of my favorite directors. I picked a different movie by the director that feels more Noir inspired. I think it’s got a chance at the top ten. I doubt anyone can crack the code on which movie I am talking about.

Only watched Dark City once. I enjoyed it but need to see it again.
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I saw Dark City once in college on VHS not that long after it was released. I kind of hated it. I learned later this was an edited for mass consumption version that gives a voice over at the beginning, explaining the entire situation and that the theatrical version just leaves it as a weird mystery for most of the film. I do wonder sometimes if that voice over hadn't been there if it would have radically altered my opinion of the movie. Probably not enough to love, but maybe. It really does deflate the movie when you get exaggerated-speech voice over explaining everything from the get-go.


Le Cercle Rouge was on my ballot. #15
I only caught up with Rififi this year, but the comparison seems apt. I think Melville did the stoic, hyper-competent, fatalistic crime movies in a way that appeals to me. I'm not sure how to describe it other than that.



WHAT DID YOU THINK OF... DARK CITY


RT – 76%, IMDb – 7.6

Roger Ebert said:

"Dark City by Alex Proyas is a great visionary achievement, a film so original and exciting, it stirred my imagination like Metropolis and 2001: A Space Odyssey. If it is true, as the German director Werner Herzog believes, that we live in an age starved of new images, then Dark City is a film to nourish us. Not a story so much as an experience, it is a triumph of art direction, set design, cinematography, special effects--and imagination." (read full review here)
Robin L. Murray & Joseph K. Heumann, from Eastern Illinois University, said:

"This noir setting is meticulously staged, from the interior and exterior mise-en-scène with its low-key lighting and stereotypical noir figures like the detective, the femme fatale and the hero/victim to the low angle, deep focus camera shots so prevalent in film noir since Citizen Kane. All these noir elements of the mise-en-scène are contrasted with the Strangers themselves and their habitat – shot, lit and staged in horror style [...] complicating views of constructed versus natural space, as well as genre." (read full review here)
@TheUsualSuspect said:

"The thing that amazed me the most would be the cross between the 1950 to 1980's, it was brilliant, the set pieces were perfect for this film. Everytime I saw the buildings changing, I was in amazement. Everyone that took part in this film should be praised, this is a film that should get more attention from the general public, but is overshadowed by films that like to put more action then story in it's plot." (read full review here)



WHAT DID YOU THINK OF... LE CERCLE ROUGE


RT – 96%, IMDb – 7.9

Roger Ebert said:

"[Melville]'s movie involves an escaped prisoner, a diamond heist, a police manhunt and mob vengeance, but it treats these elements as the magician treats his cards; the cards are insignificant, except as the medium through which he demonstrates his skills." (read full review here)
MUBI said:

"An existentialist noir painted with the cold hues of grey, blue and green where the only warm touch is the red of blood, of death. Dialogues are reduced to a minimum as Melville displays his iconographic mastery throughout having condensed noir into an immanent palette where images are more expressive words." (read full review here)
@Captain Spaulding said:

"The performances, the cinematography, the shot composition, the editing, the minimal use of dialogue--- everything about this movie feels like the work of a consummate artist. Le Cercle Rouge oozes coolness from every pore of its celluloid being. It is my first encounter with Melville. I guarantee that it won't be my last." (read full review here)



Dark City was my #24. My review from the 21st HoF



Dark City (1998)

I love that image and that's what I appreciate most about Dark City, it's atmospheric look. The sets and the lighting are very film noir...and noir and sci-fi are two of my favorite genres. The movie delves into deep world building with a score that accentuates the moody atmosphere. The street scenes smell of urban night in an crowded dingy city...just like a good noir film does. And the interior shots of the sets are done up nicely with attention to detail. Dark City is certainly one of the most stylish looking films around.

Why didn't Rufus Sewell have a bigger career? I thought he was excellent in this and he reminded me of Joaquin Phoenix. Not only did he look a bit like Phoenix but his facial actions and style of acting was very similar. I wish we could have had more story line on Jennifer Connelly's character. I was intrigued by her life as a lounge singer but other than two short clips of her singing, we really didn't get to spend time with her in the club. But she sure was a knockout in that green dress and that noir Veronica Lake hair style.


Jennifer Connelly, doesn't get to do much, but she does sport a Veronica Lake hairdo.

I know people don't like Kiefer Sutherland vocal gaspings, but I told myself before watching the film that it's a colorful character that matches the film's intentions. And yet I gotta be truthful, every time he was on the screen he took me right out of the picture. Though he would have been a shoe-in for Dick Tracy (1990).

The aliens had an evil-sci-fi-noir vibe to them, so kudos to the make-up department as they looked great. But I have to say that ultimately we see too many aliens and way too often...so that for me they cease being effective and became almost comical. Especially the little kid alien reminded me of something Spielberg might have done in one of his films.

But the biggest reason why I've never loved this film is that the script doesn't engage me. I can think of other movies that I've seen and their scenes leave an indelible impression on my mind. None of the scenes were emotionally fulfilling for me. Most of the scenes just kind of run together in my mind.



Dark City is pretty good and I'm also of the mind that it's a better film than The Matrix but it didn't make my ballot.

Le Cercle Rouge was #10 on my ballot. It's the kind of film which maintains a slow burning level of suspense from beginning to end and always gives the sense that it's about to erupt into violence. I also consider the wordless jewelry heist in it to be better than the one in Rififi. I only like one Melville film more than it.
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Dark City was my #24. My review from the 21st HoF



Dark City (1998)

I love that image and that's what I appreciate most about Dark City, it's atmospheric look. The sets and the lighting are very film noir...and noir and sci-fi are two of my favorite genres. The movie delves into deep world building with a score that accentuates the moody atmosphere. The street scenes smell of urban night in an crowded dingy city...just like a good noir film does. And the interior shots of the sets are done up nicely with attention to detail. Dark City is certainly one of the most stylish looking films around.

Why didn't Rufus Sewell have a bigger career? I thought he was excellent in this and he reminded me of Joaquin Phoenix. Not only did he look a bit like Phoenix but his facial actions and style of acting was very similar. I wish we could have had more story line on Jennifer Connelly's character. I was intrigued by her life as a lounge singer but other than two short clips of her singing, we really didn't get to spend time with her in the club. But she sure was a knockout in that green dress and that noir Veronica Lake hair style.


Jennifer Connelly, doesn't get to do much, but she does sport a Veronica Lake hairdo.

I know people don't like Kiefer Sutherland vocal gaspings, but I told myself before watching the film that it's a colorful character that matches the film's intentions. And yet I gotta be truthful, every time he was on the screen he took me right out of the picture. Though he would have been a shoe-in for Dick Tracy (1990).

The aliens had an evil-sci-fi-noir vibe to them, so kudos to the make-up department as they looked great. But I have to say that ultimately we see too many aliens and way too often...so that for me they cease being effective and became almost comical. Especially the little kid alien reminded me of something Spielberg might have done in one of his films.

But the biggest reason why I've never loved this film is that the script doesn't engage me. I can think of other movies that I've seen and their scenes leave an indelible impression on my mind. None of the scenes were emotionally fulfilling for me. Most of the scenes just kind of run together in my mind.
Have you seen Le Cercle Rouge as well? Being the Le Samourai fan which I believe you are, I think you'd really enjoy that film as well.



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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I didn't love Dark City when I saw it, but probably ought to give it another chance.


Le Cercle Rouge was my #8. Melville, Delon, silent jewellery heist, what's not to like?



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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Why didn't Rufus Sewell have a bigger career? I thought he was excellent in this
I really like Rufus Sewell. From playing leads in the 90s he seemed to get cast as villains a lot in the 2000s, then in a lot of poorly rated films before making a bit of a TV comeback with Victoria. Most recently seen as Prince Andrew in the Netflix dramatisation of his disastrous interview.



Have you seen Le Cercle Rouge as well? Being the Le Samourai fan which I believe you are, I think you'd really enjoy that film as well.
I thought I had seen it, but I searched MoFo and I couldn't find a post where I talked about watching it. One of these days.

I really like Rufus Sewell. From playing leads in the 90s he seemed to get cast as villains a lot in the 2000s, then in a lot of poorly rated films before making a bit of a TV comeback with Victoria. Most recently seen as Prince Andrew in the Netflix dramatisation of his disastrous interview.
I did see him in something the other day, Judy (2019). At first I didn't even recognize him but then I spotted him by his mannerisms.



That's another film from my list to make the Countdown! I had Dark City pretty high at #7. I was sort of mixed on the film when I first saw it, but I revisited it later (once I had forgotten most of the details), and liked it a lot more. Love the visual style and the atmosphere, and the film's blend of sci-fi and noir. I'd actually prefer a version that has the theatrical cut's opening - just without the spoiler-laden monologue, that then switches to the director's version afterwards, but it seems like I'll have to edit it myself if I want to see it that way haha.

Seen: 40/78

My List: 11
02. Blade Runner 2049 (2017) - #44
03. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) - #42
05. Blue Ruin (2013) - #82
06. Mother (2009) - #67
07. Dark City (1998) - #24
08. Strange Days (1995) - #65
10. The Man from Nowhere (2010) - #87
14. Angel Heart (1987) - #31
15. Infernal Affairs (2002) - #91
17. Memories of Murder (2003) - #25
21. Oldboy (2003) - #52
25. The Chaser (2008) - DNP 1-pointer





1 for 2. I've liked the four Alex Proyas' films I've seen for the most part, even Knowing. I, Robot being the exception (but that's more a Will Smith problem). The Crow still holds up remarkably well as far as I'm concerned. Haven't seen Gods of Egypt (no plans to). Dark City preceded The Matrix by a year so it was a revelation to me.

Haven't seen Le Cercle Rouge. The Neo-Noir Hall of Fame thread was the first time I'd ever heard of it.

52 of 77 seen so far.



I really like Rufus Sewell. From playing leads in the 90s he seemed to get cast as villains a lot in the 2000s, then in a lot of poorly rated films before making a bit of a TV comeback with Victoria. Most recently seen as Prince Andrew in the Netflix dramatisation of his disastrous interview.
He played a pretty good villain in that TV show, The Man in the High Castle. Not enough to hold my interest cause I gave up in Season 1, but still



Society ennobler, last seen in Medici's Florence
#23. Le Cercle Rouge (1970) is my #9.

When I watched this movie for the first time, many years ago, I was a bit confused seeing the great Bourvil casted in a crime movie of this type. He was a huge comedy star in Europe that's why it was quite unnatural for me at first. Anyway, he did his job very well.
Another annoying thing was the moustaches they put on Delon's face. Probably an attempt to reduce his usual physical appearance on the screen.


90/100

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My Ballot

1. Angel Heart (1987) [#31]
...
4. The Driver (1978) [#79]
5.
6. Red Rock West (1993) [#88]
7. The Hot Spot (1990) [#85]
8. Shallow Grave (1994) [#95]
9. Le Cercle Rouge (1970) [#23]
10. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) [#27]
...
14. Purple Noon (1960) [#94]
15.
16. Thelma & Louise (1991) [#56]
...
19. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) [#36]
20.
21. Mona Lisa (1986) [#78]
...
24. Pulp Fiction (1994) [#37]
25.




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Others in my radar:

The Ninth Gate (1999) [one-pointers]
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) [#96]
True Romance (1993) [#60]
Thief (1981) [#29]
The Conversation (1974) [#28]
Sin City (2005) [#26]
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Dark City is my one pointer at #25! I'm actually surprised it ranked this highly. I really liked it, but it's certainly out of the ordinary as neo noirs go.

I love strange movies that make you think, assess the nature of free will, and even delve a bit into religion.

It's only glaring flaw is an ending that's far too bright and fluffy, but I forgive it.



A system of cells interlinked
Blimey, I just realized I left Dark City off my ballot, and it never even crossed my mind as I compiled my list. Definitely a mistake, as I adore it. To anyone that hasn't seen it: make sure you watch the director's cut, as it is a much better film than the theatrical.



I am sure this will surprise at least a couple people. seeing as how I have had a Sin City avatar for as long as I can remember, it did not make my list. I am one of those people who think it is good, but not great. A little too stylized for my taste, even though I own and enjoy the original Frank Miller run. Perhaps if I re-watched it again, I might grow to like it more, but I never have the urge to watch it, and I think that says something.

Memories of Murder was on my list at #17. A fantastic slow burn with an excellent cast whose characters become more and more desperate to solve a befuddling crime without much success. In part an indictment of the legal system and law enforcement organizations of the era, it also plays with different tones at times so things don't get too bleak. This film doesn't work for some people, but I revisit it from time to time, and I am always satisfied when I do. Several memorable scenes stick in my mind, and will pop into my head randomly from time to time. Great stuff.



I've not seen Le Circe Rouge. I was given a copy of the film at one point, but I couldn't get the disc to work.
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