26 Apr

The Subtlety of Film Noir

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 04/26/07

Movies in the genre of film noir portray more than wicked characters in hopeless situations, moving through dimly lit environments. In "Seeking with Groans: The moral universe of film noir," Thomas Hibbs describes the moral complexity of the genre, which is gaining popularity with critics and movie watchers. Hibbs writes: "Repudiating old-fashioned American optimism but never quite succumbing to despairing nihilism, noir's most captivating characters are those who, in the words of Pascal, 'seek with groans.'"

"Seeking with Groans" resonates with Barrett Fisher's discussion of film noir and Dick Keyes's discussion of cynicism, both on volume 83 of the Journal. It is published in the March/April 2007 issue of Books and Culture, and is available online. [Posted April 2007, ALG]