Top 10 Neo-Noir Movies to See

This list looks at examples of neo-noir movies from recent history that pay homage to the greats that came before them.

Cinema historically pays tribute to its past. Entire film movements have been echoed, mirrored, honoured, and even parodied by modern day movies. Film Noir, a film era predominantly from the 1940’s and 50’s often used notable traits to distinguish itself. Usually crime dramas and thrillers, its themes were based on cynicism, betrayal and sexual desires, capitalising on the post-Great Depression in the US, with a visual style based on German Expressionism of the 1920’s. Stories would revolve around a hard-boiled detective, a double- crossing femme fatale, wrapping them both in murder. Modern cinema took these traits, built upon them, and produced a new genre in itself: Neo Noir.

Neo-noir movies are all very diverse, set across a multitude of other genres, from sci-fi to fantasy, but all have themes rooted in Noir films of the 40’s and 50’s.


Radiating cool, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive pays homage to both Noir and 80’s thrillers. A rare example of a style-over-substance film doing it right, Drive is filled with slow-paced, real time moments between characters where a lot is said, just without words. When the action hits, it hits hard; with the rush of seeing the Driver (Ryan Gosling) outsmart police and gangsters alike.

Beautifully and moodily lit, shots of the Driver lingering in doorways, and close moments with Irene (Carey Mulligan) are mirrors to classics like Casablanca and Touch of Evil.

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