The MoFo Top 100 Neo-noir Countdown

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Memento is my #12! Always loved this film, but I'm going to be the odd one out and say I like it better in timeline order (opening credits still at the beginning). It makes our hero a lot more sympathetic, when you fully understand him. In regular order it relies a little too much on twists.i prefer clear emotional stories, over gimmicks and twists.

It's still great either way, and yes, I'd say it's Nolan's best film.

6. Miller's Crossing
7. The Big Lebowski
8. Pulp Fiction
10. Le Circle Rouge
12. Memento
13. No Country for Old Men
16. Mulholland Drive
17. The Silence of the Lambs
18. Blow Out
22. Point Blank
23. Alphaville
25. Blood Simple

Memento is #9 on my ballot. It's the first (and only) movie I watched six or seven times in one weekend, which I don't think is a bad thing at all. Did I do that so I could fully understand it? Well, probably.

It is still my favorite Nolan movie. Besides Insomnia and Dunkirk, I can take or leave the rest of his work (I still haven't seen Oppenheimer). I think he makes better movies when he has fewer resources at his disposal.

Back when I thought more highly of Nolan. I had Memento at #17.

My List:
3. Miller's Crossing (#15)
4. Memories of Murder (#25)
5. True Romance (#60)
7. Drive (#14)
8. Blood Simple (#9)
9. Nightcrawler (#21)
11. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (#100)
12. Branded to Kill (#71)
13. The Man Who Wasn't There (#27)
14. Blast of Silence (#48)
16. Sin City (#26)
17. Memento (#8)
18. Following (#84)
20. Jackie Brown (#18)
21. Mother (#67)
22. Purple Noon (#94)
23. Cop Land (DNP)
24. Against All Odds (DNP)
25. The Man from London (DNP)
I may go back to hating you. It was more fun.

1 for 1 today. Haven't seen Memento in ages but I remember liking it's Byzantine plot and appreciated Nolan's faith in his audience being able to follow along. It didn't make my ballot though.

65 of 93 seen so far.

Victim of The Night
I have Blood Simple as tied for my No.2 Coen Bros. after a recent re-watch.
It made every cut I made to my list before I missed the deadline and I think I had it Top-5.


Memento received a lot of nominations and awards. These are some of the most notable:
  • Four (4) Satellite Award nominations, including Best Actor (Guy Pearce)
  • Four (4) Deauville Film Festival nominations, including the Jury Special Prize
  • Two (2) Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Screenplay (Christopher and Jonathan Nolan)
  • One (1) Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Screenplay
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Memento is a stunningly good film with a freshly innovative story for the year 2000. Guy Pearce's Leonard Shelby is one of the best performances of his career. Carrie-Anne Moss turns in a nice portrayal as well. Moss has one of the most recognizable faces in 21st Century film who I can never recall what I've seen her in.

It is #12 on my neo-noir list.

Welcome to the human race...
my #21. easily one of the first films to come to mind when you process the phrase "neo-noir". can't help but miss when nolan made films like this.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.
Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0

Another one of my no-shows...

Steven Soderbergh has tapped into the Noir spirit a number of times over his impressive filmography. His fourth feature was The Underneath (1995), a remake of Siodmak's classic Noir Criss Cross (1949). The director has pretty well publicaly disowned it, but I like it quite a bit. His Elmore Leonard adaptation Out of Sight (1998) is terriic, with a neat crossover with Tarantino's Jackie Brown (#18) as both have Michael Keaton playing ATF Agent Ray Nicolette. Logan Lucky (2017) is a dark comedy version of the heist flick, and No Sudden Moves (2021) is a full-on period throwback. But for my money Soderbergh's best foray into the genre so far, and one of the very best Neo Noirs of the 1990s, is The Limey (1999).

Terence Stamp got one of his long career's best roles playing the title character, a hardened criminal we only know by his last name: Wilson. Wilson is a cockney hardass who has spent the more of his life in prison than out of it. During one of his rare bouts of freedom he fathered a daughter. Of course he never had much of a relationship with her, one of the regrets of his life now that he is of advanced age. At the end of his latest nine-year stretch he got word that his daughter, Jenny (Melissa George), had died in a car accident in Los Angeles. He also heard she had taken up with an L.A. bloke named Terry Valentine (Peter Fonda). Age-wise Valentine is a contemporary of Wilson's, and it turns out he's involved with moving some drugs, too. But while he may be a rich ex-Hippie who likes the idea of some quick money and flirting around the edges of darkness, he's not a career sh!t disturber like Wilson. Believing Jenny's death may not have been an accident, Wilson becomes the walking embodiment of vengeance to find out.

In addition to a plumb role for Stamp and cleverly casting Fonda as a mirror of his late '60s and early '70s counterculture roles there is a stellar supporting cast including Lesley Ann Warren as one of Jenny's L.A. friends who puts him on Valentine's scent, Luis Guzmán who becomes a reluctant Sancho Panza to Wilson's Quixote, Barry Newman (another legit '70s screen relic from The Vanishing) as Valentine's right hand man, Bill Duke as a bemused DEA Agent, and the always reliable Nicky Katt as a low-level hit man.

There are so many interesting, clever touches throughout (including using some footage from Ken Loach's Poor Cow to show Stamp in true cinematic flashback) and the conclusion is bittersweet poetry. A literate, non-linear script by Lem Dobbs (#24's Dark City), a dreamlike score by Cliff Martinez, and all colored by Edward Lachman's haunting cinematography creates a beautifully bright and horrible Los Angeles. I had The Limey nineteenth on my ballot. I didn't think it had an honest chance of showing on the collective, but it is too damn brilliant and I love it way too damn much to leave it off of my ballot just because it wasn't gonna make the cut. Hope some of you check it out.

4. Night Moves (#40)
5. High & Low (#19)
6. Nightcrawler (#21)
7. The Grifters (#45)
8. One False Move (#73)
9. Blast of Silence (#48)
11. Blow Out (#17)
12. To Live & Die in L.A. (#43)
13. The Naked Kiss (#51)
14. Angel Heart (#31)
15. Shallow Grave (#95)
17. Dead Again (#90)
19. The Limey (DNP)
21. Drive (#14)
22. The Hot Spot (#85)
23. Charley Varrick (DNP)
24. Blue Ruin (#82)
25. Johnny Handsome (DNP)

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

Yeah I had The Limey on my list too at #16. It's too bad it didn't make it - great film and perfect example of the neo noir genre. I'll second Holden's rec here and it's worth watching, Mofoers.
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

I think I saw The Limey back in the late 90s, but haven't seen it since. It's surely due for a rewatch.

Yeah I had The Limey on my list too at #16. It's too bad it didn't make it - great film and perfect example of the neo noir genre. I'll second Holden's rec here and it's worth watching, Mofoers.
And as for Soderbergh, I'm not too much of a fan of any of his later films that I've seen but he had an excellent run there with Out of Sight, The Limey, and Traffic.

I forgot the opening line.
8. Memento - This is fantastic. If Christopher Nolan had of told me "I'm making a film with all of the scenes in reverse order, because it's about a man with no short-term memory", I'd have told him "Chris, that is going to be confusing, too hard to follow and lacking in tension or surprise." Instead, when I first saw Memento at the movies, I felt like running out of the movie theater swinging my jacket above me screaming "I just saw one of the best films I'm ever going to see in my entire life!" That non-linear narrative really works in the film's favour, and the haunting narration plus the darkness which pervades every aspect of this film just adds so much weight to it. Back in 2000, it would have been films like this that would awaken me to the way film noir can get under your skin and get your mind compulsively drawn to it. Apart from Guy Pearce, who looks like he hasn't eaten in 8 months, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano make for the sketchiest of characters living in the world of a paranoid man hunting a ghost. I love this movie still, and it managed to snag #4 on my neo noir ballot.

Seen : 68/93
I'd never even heard of : 9/93
Movies that had been on my radar, but I haven't seen yet : 16/93
Films from my list : 15 + 1

#8 - My #4 - Memento (2000)
#12 - My #10 - No Country For Old Men (2007)
#13 - My #7 - Blue Velvet (1986)
#14 - My #15 - Drive (2011)
#15 - My #6 - Miller's Crossing (1990)
#16 - My #2 - Reservoir Dogs (1992)
#17 - My #22 - Blow Out (1981)
#21 - My #13 - Nightcrawler (2014)
#27 - My #24 - The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
#28 - My #1 - The Conversation (1974)
#30 - My #23 - Zodiac (2007)
#42 - My #19 - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
#44 - My #21 - Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
#52 - My #11 - Oldboy (2003)
#81 - My #17 - Brick (2005)
#106 - My #16 - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
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