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Crime, Corruption and Social Critique: A Thematic Overview of Noir

  • Sue Short
Chapter

Abstract

Neo-noir reworks repeated themes yet what accounts for their continued popularity? Is an anti-Capitalist message proffered in narratives that warn about the folly of avarice, or affirm that the worst corruption is found at the highest levels of society? Can an anti-authoritarian impulse be discerned in tales about heists and hit men? Suggesting the most popular tropes share an interest in championing underdogs—providing transgressive appeal—the chapter asks if this is the genre’s most progressive feature. Neo-noir’s capacity to interrogate specific sociocultural concerns is demonstrated through the problems faced by characters and the solutions they find, assessing how class, gender, race and sexuality are played out in certain narratives, elaborating our understanding of power and proving its radical potential in both highlighting and challenging injustice.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue Short
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck University of LondonLondonUK

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