De Keuze van Koolhoven: Neo Noir Night
Martin Koolhoven talks about everything that makes film worthwhile, especially the rich history of the genre film. In this month’s edition of De Keuze van Koolhoven, Eye’s unstoppable cinephile explores the phenomenon of the neo-noir film on the basis of the rarely screened thriller Red Rock West. Starring none other than Nicolas Cage as a drifter who wanders into the rural town of Red Rock and is mistaken for a contract killer.
Martin Koolhoven: “The film noir genre is starkly defined as a rule. Strictly speaking, the genre ends in the late 1950s and the films are made in Hollywood. Neo-noir is less rigidly defined. Any film that in any sense relies on the classic film noir is usually referred to as such. Taxi Driver and Fight Club, for instance, are regularly considered neo-noirs.”
“The relationship is much clearer in Red Rock West. There is a direct link with film noir, even with the literary genre that inspired film noir: the hard-boiled novel.”
The cast Dahl chose for Red Rock West includes Nicolas Cage, Lara Flynn Boyle and Dennis Hopper (who had just left his drink and drug-fuelled years behind him). Koolhoven takes a closer look at Dahl”s film and the neo-noir in his introduction packed with choice clips from the genre.
Red Rock West (John Dahl, US 1993, 98')
The penniless drifter Michael (Cage) drives up to Wyoming from Texas to try his luck in the town of Red Rock. The local bar owner mistakes him for Lyle (Hopper), the hitman he hired to get rid of his wife. Michael plays along for the money but gets hopelessly caught in a web of misunderstandings.
Dahl”s witty and suspenseful mix of thriller, film noir, western and black comedy was initially released on video but became a hit with the American art cinema circuit already a year later.