Originally a Japanese manga from 1996 – 1998, and then adapted into a 2003 South Korean film, Oldboy has just received the Hollywood treatment. This 2013 version is directed by Spike Lee with Josh Brolin taking the lead as Joe Doucett, a seedy businessman who rubs everyone the wrong way. Part crime mystery, part suspense drama, Oldboy takes you on an intimate journey with Joe as he finds himself ripped from his wife and daughter and locked up in an inescapable hotel room for twenty years. Why is he there? Who put him there? Will he ever get out?
Oldboy explores the demons that plague man as the film slowly and methodically culminates in a twist like no other. A must-see film for all crime fiction lovers!
Thanks to writer Rob Brunet for alerting us to the existence of this gem of a video. Noir Nation readers may recognize Terra Hazelton, who plays the gypsy fortune teller, and sings backup. She was the subject of an article in Noir Nation No. 3 after becoming an instant favorite for her sardonic take on murder, suicide, depression, and the pretend smiles we wear to get through the day. And if the smiles are not pretend, they are at least soon replaced with the resignation of hand cuffs and prison stripes. In the environs of noir, the human party always ends in death.
More information about Jeff Gladstone can be found here: http://jeffgladstone.ca/
Mademoiselle Noir addresses the outlaws, the outliers, and strange people in society and the often dark ways their lives end.
Although the film follows a Gothic-Romance-Noir approach to the subject, far from the hard-boiled material we generally write about, its theme made us think of the terrible ways people are dying because they are different from the majority in political or military power: Albinos in Tanzania who are being murdered for body parts used in religious rituals; gay men in Bagdad who are treated like a cancerous growth that must be excised and who are shot or burned to death; young unarmed black men in Florida who are being legally murdered for wearing hoodies.
Mademoiselle Noir: A Musical Tragedy. Yes. A tragedy.
In Russian prisons, inmates wear their criminal records on their skin. What did they do? What do their tats mean? This doc provides the coding key…
Much of this information and background was used to great effect in the now classic Russian mob film Eastern Promises with Vigo Mortenson, a special favorite of Noir Nation, even if it has the so called lapel moment, associated with films that want to keep one hand in the light, as the other hand explores the darkness.
(NB: Those familiar with the making of Double Indemnity will remember the term being used by George Raft, who considered playing the villain and asked about when the lapel moment would occur, the moment when the villain turns his lapel to show a police badge, showing he had been a good guy from the start. When told there was no such moment, Raft turned down the role.)