Thematic and Stylistic Devices in Neo-noir Film Essay

Thematic and Stylistic Devices in Neo-noir Film Essay

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While there are many different ways to classify a Neo-noir film, Roman Polanski’s, Chinatown captures many. The 1974 movie consists of many of these elements, including both thematic and stylistic devices. One of the main themes of neo-noir film that is constant throughout the film is the deceptive plot that questions the viewers’ ideas and perceptions of what is actually happening in the film. Every scene of Chinatown leads to a twist or another turn that challenges the practicability of the film’s reality. All of the never-ending surprises and revelations lead up to the significant themes the movie is trying to convey in the conclusion of the film.
The first thematic device is clearly displayed throughout the narrative of the film. The main plot of the movie of the movie revolves around the mysterious murder of Hollis Mulwray and the obstacles that Detective Jake Gittes has to overcome in order to discover who was behind the assassination. We learn a great deal about Detective Gittes, as he is the story’s anti-hero protagonist. In the beginning of the film he appears to be doing rather well. He often refers to “what happened in Chinatown” but doesn’t overtake him. He makes decent money and his business is successful. Jake Gittes is considered as a thematic device, as he is essentially a good man; however some of his actions are morally questionable. For example, he is hired by Mrs. Mulwray to solve her husband’s murder, and then he sleeps with her. Also another debatable action concerning Mrs. Mulwray, is when he physically hits her when he believes she is being untruthful about Katherine’s accurate identity. Overall Chinatown shows the decline of Detective Gittes regardless of his genuine and strong-minded efforts to do the ri...


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...the predominant theme of disorientation and lack of understanding throughout the film. The audience is never clear of if the scene happening is authentic or if there is a false reality.

The entire movie is bursting with counter narratives, when the audience believes they hold an accurate grasp on what is truly happening, there is a misguiding event, as the storyline is continually challenged. The viewer’s beginning formations about what is going on are learned to be always questionable because what is repeatedly steered to trust and is revealed not be the truth in the conclusion of the film. This neo-noir film had multiple scenarios that make the previous actions untrustworthy to the actual message. This proves that all the observations and thoughts the viewer possesses are only relevant to what they are exposed to and shown and not to what is, in fact, happening.

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