Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: S鲩e Noire

Date: 21 Dec 2006

miker responded to my comments about Sin City:

"However, I find your comment about evil characters being pure evil in noir as odd. Some might be, but some are little more than immoral opportunists. I don't think of Cora or Frank from Cain's Postman as pure evil. . . ."

I don't think I made myself clear. I was saying evil was evil in Sin City, which was one of the reasons I saw it as noirish, not noir. Similarly, that's why I find most serial killer novels so boring; pure evil is all the same, whereas there are many shades of immorality in noir. I'm with you that noir is interesting because characters find out their own level of morality, or lack of, when faced with temptation (and are often surprised themselves). It's kind of like the saying that you can't con an honest man, because he's not looking to take advantage of anyone. Perhaps a corollary of this is that you can't write noir about a moral man.

It reminds me of the Washington Post's Tom Shales's review of the TV show American Gothic. He hated it because it was so evil, particularly the sheriff, played so well by Gary Cole, However, except for the opening rape (granted, a big exception), Cole almost never took a hands-on approach to evil. Instead, he was the Devil, placing temptation in people's paths. They had free will to choose between good and evil. Like vampires, evil must be invited in in noir.


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