The seeds for this renaissance were planted in 2007 when films that could not be categorized outright as neo-noir but were still “dark as hell” in theme and style (i.e. the dueling banjos that were There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men) left the most indelible impressions, if not on mass audiences, then on fellow filmmakers lurking in the shadows. In my yearly wrap-up, I specifically looked at the grim melodramas not nominated for Best Picture when I said, “Flicks like Zodiac, Eastern Promises, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, and Gone Baby Gone point towards a film movement not unlike the film noir of the 1940′s that mirrors America’s anxiety towards the chaotic outside world inward against the intimate settings of neighborhoods and families in stylish and unsettling ways.” But it wasn’t until 2010 that those seeds planted in 2007 bloomed.
It started in February, the coldest and most obscure of months — a time of year that is usually an artistic black-hole for film. Yet it was on the same weekend when two of filmdom’s greatest living masters delivered what appeared to be larks Continue reading